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In Defence of Free Will Theodicy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Michael J. Coughlan
Affiliation:
St David's University College, Lampeter

Extract

The Free Will Defence has been attacked as being unsound, implausible and, more recently, irrelevant. The first section of the paper returns to a discussion on the relevance of the Free Will Defence, arguing that the case for its irrelevance is inextricably impaled on the horns of a dilemma. In the second section it is shown that Free Will Theodicy, even in a form extended to include natural evil, need not be as implausible as it is sometimes portrayed for it demands no more than that good, on the whole, outweighs evil, on the whole. Finally, some tempting objections to the strategy employed in this argument are considered and rejected, both on the grounds that they are untenable in themselves and on the paradoxical ground that, if valid, the objections would appear to rule out any creation.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1987

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References

page 543 note 1 Boër, Steven E., ‘The Irrelevance of the Free Will Defence’, Analysis XXVIII (2), 110–12.Google Scholar

page 543 note 2 ‘Moral Evil without Consequences?’, Analysis XXXIX (I), 58–60.

page 543 note 3 Dilley, Frank B., ‘Is the Free Will Defence Irrelevant?’, Religious Studies XVIII (3), 355–64.Google Scholar

page 545 note 1 Mackie, J. L., ‘Evil and Omnipotence’, Mind LXIV (1955), 200–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

page 546 note 1 Rowe, William L., Philosophy of Religion (Encino and Belmont, California, 1978), p. 89.Google Scholar

page 546 note 2 Plantinga, Alvin, ‘The Probabilistic Argument from Evil’, Philosophical Studies XXXV (1), 153, 7.Google Scholar

page 548 note 1 McHarry, Mohn D., ‘A Theodicy’, Analysis XXVIII (3), 132–4.Google Scholar

page 549 note 1 Paterson, R. W. K., ‘Evil, Omniscience and Omnipotence’, Religious Studies XV (1), 123.Google Scholar

page 554 note 1 I am indebted to my department colleagues for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

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