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Views of God and evil Christopher William Thomas Bernard

Views of God and evil

Christopher William Thomas Bernard

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ISBN : 9780549777748
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256 pages
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A view referred to as skeptical theism has received much attention in recent discussions of the argument from evil against the existence of God. According to skeptical theism, humans are not in an epistemic position to make the inferences necessaryMoreA view referred to as skeptical theism has received much attention in recent discussions of the argument from evil against the existence of God. According to skeptical theism, humans are not in an epistemic position to make the inferences necessary for the evidential argument from evil to go through. In this dissertation, I defend the importance of individual variations in epistemic position to our evaluation of the argument from evil. Skeptical theists highlight the inadequacy of the human epistemic position to make the relevant judgments. I underscore the importance of individual differences in epistemic position---perspectival differences---to our evaluation of the argument from evil.* I argue that believers and nonbelievers may be epistemically justified in drawing different conclusions about God from the same, or similar, evidence because the evidence is judged from different epistemic perspectives. In particular, my discussion focuses on two perspectival factors which have received relatively little attention by analytic philosophers of religion: practical interests and social influences.-Discussions of the argument from evil which place epistemic considerations at the forefront are typically about the evidential argument from evil. I contend that epistemic considerations deserve to be a central focus of the logical argument from evil as well. In this dissertation, I set out the logical argument from evil and Alvin Plantingas freewill defense to it. I consider several objections to the freewill defense. I consider objections to the freewill defense aimed at Molinism, on which Plantingas free will defense seems to depend. I conclude that one need not settle the debate about Molinism because there are versions of the freewill defense that dont depend on it which are successful.-I then turn to an epistemic objection raised by Daniel Howard-Snyder and John Hawthorne. I defend their objection from a criticism raised by William Rowe but offer my own criticism of their objection. My discussion of this epistemic objection calls attention to the importance of individual differences in epistemic situations, which I call perspectival factors, to our assessments of the logical argument from evil.-I turn next to a discussion of two perspectival factors that havent received sufficient attention in the analytic philosophy of religion---practical interests and the social production and distribution of knowledge. I contend that these perspectival factors may have an important, and often ignored, bearing on the epistemic justification of the religious beliefs, or lack thereof, of both believers and non-believers.-*Some would prefer the term worldview over perspective. As I use the term, an epistemic perspective includes a worldview but includes factors that are broader than our beliefs, like practical interests and social factors.