The Problem of Evil

Paperback | April 21, 2008

byPeter Van Inwagen

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It is generally supposed that the fact that the world contains a vast amount of suffering, much of it truly horrible suffering, confronts those who believe in an all-powerful and benevolent Creator with a serious problem: to explain why such a Creator would permit this. Many reflective peopleare convinced that the problem, the problem of evil, is insoluble. The reasons that underlie this conviction can be formulated as a powerful argument for the non-existence of God, the so-called argument from evil: If there were a God, he would not permit the existence of vast amounts of trulyhorrible suffering; since such suffering exists, there is no God. Peter van Inwagen examines this argument, which he regards as a paradigmatically philosophical argument. His conclusion is that (like most philosophical arguments) it is a failure. He seeks to demonstrate, not that God exists, butthe fact that the world contains a vast amount of suffering does not show that God does not exist.Along the way he discusses a wide range of topics of interest to philosophers and theologians, such as: the concept of God; what might be meant by describing a philosophical argument as a failure; the distinction between versions of the argument from evil that depend on the vast amount of evil inthe world and versions of the argument that depend on a particular evil, such as the Lisbon earthquake or the death of a fawn in a forest fire; the free-will defense; animal suffering; and the problem of the hiddenness of God.

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It is generally supposed that the fact that the world contains a vast amount of suffering, much of it truly horrible suffering, confronts those who believe in an all-powerful and benevolent Creator with a serious problem: to explain why such a Creator would permit this. Many reflective peopleare convinced that the problem, the problem...

Peter van Inwagen is the O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. His many publications include iAn Essay on Free Will/i (1983), iMaterial Beings/i (1990), iOntology, Identity, and Modality: Essays in Metaphysics/i (2001), and Metaphysics/i (1993, second edition 2002). He has delivered the Gifford Lectures at t...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:April 21, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199543976

ISBN - 13:9780199543977

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Problem of Evil and the Argument from Evil2. The Idea of God3. Philosophical Failure4. The Global Argument from Evil5. The Global Argument Continued6. The Local Argument from Evil7. The Sufferings of Beasts8. The Hiddenness of God

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`'[a] fine book''Trenton Merricks, The Times Literary Supplement