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Evil and the God of Abraham, Anselm, and Murphy

  • PAUL DRAPER (a1)


Mark Murphy's attempt to solve the problem of evil appeals to the hypothesis, which I call ‘Murphy's hypothesis’, that an Anselmian God only has justifying reasons and not requiring reasons to promote the well-being of Her sentient creatures. Given this hypothesis, the distribution of benefits and harms that we observe in the world is not unexpected on Anselmian theism. I argue that Murphy fails to solve the problem of evil for two reasons. First, he incorrectly equates the probability of the distribution of benefits and harms given theism with the probability of that distribution given theism conjoined with Murphy's hypothesis. Second, he fails to solve the evidential problem of immorality for Christian Anselmian theists and in fact his views make that problem significantly worse.


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Bernstein, Mark (1998) ‘Well-being’, American Philosophical Quarterly, 35, 3955.
Murphy, Mark (2017) God's Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument from Evil (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Sober, Elliott & Wilson, David Sloan (1998) Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press).
Swinburne, Richard (2004) The Existence of God, 2nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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