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The Evidential Argument from Evil (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) First Edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Like Cole Mitchell, I was also somewhat disappointed by the demographics of the book (10 of the book's 16 articles were theistic). Despite this flaw, I was still so pleased with the book that I rated it with 5 stars. Any serious student of the problem of evil will want their own copy of this book.
For the most part, the theistic critics of the Problem of Evil tend not to focus directly on the issue of theodicy- providing reasons why God may permit evil in the world. Richard Swinburne is the only contributor who attempts to offer a full-fledged theodicy, though Eleanore Stump offers a discussion on the book of Job that approaches a theodicy as well. The main emphasis is on defenses- merely logically possible accounts- and an appeal to our cognitive limitations. Basically, most of the theistic writers try to demonstrate that we are simply not in a cognitive position to judge with any certainty whether or not God has a sufficient reason for the evils that exist in the world. Since we have no idea whether or not God has a reason, it is a bit hasty to conclude from the existence of unexplained evil in the world that God probably does not exist.
This is one aspect of the Problem of Evil that I do not tend to emphasize in my own analysis of this issue. I tend to think that a bare appeal to our cognitive limitations is inadequate. While it is legitimate to point out that we should not expect to understand God's reasons for any particular evil, it is not legitimate to avoid offering any sorts of plausible reasons why evil and suffering in general exists in the world.
Nevertheless, the theistic critics make a good case that we should not truly be surprised if we are unable to think of the reasons why God allows so much evil and suffering in the world.Read more ›
interested in recent trends in the philosophy of religion.
Not only does it reproduce in one convenient volume several
of the major papers on the topic in the last 15 years, it
includes several new works by some of the foremost
participants in the ongoing debate (Stephen Wykstra, Alvin
Plantinga, Bruce Russell, and William Rowe, to name but a
Another reason for having this book on hand is its
excellent bibliography, both of the works cited in the
essays which comprise the volume itself, but also of the
wider literature on the subject. As William Alston says in
the book's final essay, these are not likely to be the last
words on the evidential argument from evil: but they do
represent, at least in my opinion, the best collection of
words on that topic produced to date.
C.S. Lewis called this issue "The Problem of Pain" in his book of that title. The current preferred term is "The Evidential Argument From Evil" because, as explained in the Introduction, it's not a "Problem" except for people who believe in God.
Readers of this book will discover why belief in an all-good, all-powerful God, in the face of human suffering and evil, is not necessarily "cognitively dissonant". It provides a balanced, fair treatment of the issue by both believers and atheists.
The book is quite technical at times. Several of the essays feature complex equations purporting to illustrate various logical propositions. There is also a good deal of philosophical jargon used. Nonetheless, while the book is not as readable as anything by C.S. Lewis (or Ayn Rand for that matter), it provides the best treatment I've seen in print of the arguments for both sides in this perennial issue.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This series of tightly argued essays on the evidential argument of evil is very helpful. It includes serious thinkers, both theistic and atheistic, or in some cases skeptical, who... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ken Webb
I had to read this book for a Masters Degree Class and this is almost the worst book ever written. Mind you it is not because it is not well researched but the book is so dense it... Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by Joshua-Paul Johnian
Published in 1996 by Indiana University Press and edited by Daniel Howard-Snyder, `The Evidential Argument from Evil' in a small anthology of contemporary essays discussing the... Read morePublished on January 11, 2012 by Reader
This book is a collection of articles from theologians and philosophers alike on "The Evidential Argument From Evil". Read morePublished on April 16, 2005 by John Sinclair