The Problem of Evil
The Problem of Evil 2022-23
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
This module will outline the problem of evil – if an omnibenevolent God exists, how can evil also exist? Considering the historical form of the problem of evil, we will develop our discussion by discussing more modern presentations, such as J. L. Mackie, William Rowe and Gregory S. Paul. The module will discuss the major solutions that have been offered to the problem of evil (theodicies), such as the free will defence and the soul-making theodicy, along with major thinkers who have contributed to the contemporary discussion of these solutions, such as Alvin Plantinga, John Hick and Marilyn Adams. An interesting counter argument to these solutions is known as anti-theodicy, and we shall consider the works of authors such as Kenneth Surin and Dewi Z. Phillips. A consideration will be given to such ‘evil’ events and individuals, such as the Holocaust and witches. Finally, the module will conclude by looking at the problem of evil in different religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
This module will outline the problem of evil – if an omnibenevolent God exists, how can evil also exist?
- What is 'evil' and how can philosophy grapple with it?
- The inconsistent triad and its implications.
- Theodicies: free-will, soul-making, monistic.
- 'Evil' individuals and events, and their implications for the problem of evil discourse.
- The problem of evil in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a unified Abrahamic answer?
-threshold -(D- to D+) Work in this band will demonstrate a cursory knowledge of the philosophical debate concerning the problem of evil, but might show a lack of understanding, and will not demonstrate an ability to analyse or evaluate the arguments within this debate. Work in this band will fail to develop a successful argument relevant to the content of this course. -good -(C- to B+) Work in this band will demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of the philosophical debate concerning the problem of evil, and (for the higher grades) will be able to apply that knowledge and understanding to the construction of an argument relevant to the content of this course. This argument might show some minor misunderstandings, or might not be presented with impeccable structure, but will nonetheless demonstrate the student's knowledge and understanding of the subject area, and will show that they are capable of constructing a logical and coherent argument. -excellent -(A- to A*) Work in this band will demonstrate comprehensive and very detailed understanding of the philosophical debate concerning the problem of evil, based on extensive background reading, and will demonstrate an outstanding ability to construct a logical and coherent argument relevant to the content of this course.
- To analyse, research, and construct a sustained argument applicable to the content of this course, showing some degree of originality.
- To demonstrate knowledge of, understanding of, and an ability to critically evaluate the problem of evil.
- To demonstrate knowledge of, understanding of, and an ability to critically evaluate the proposed solutions to the problem of evil.
Students will be given a choice of 5 questions and will be expected to respond to 1 and write a 3,000 word essay.
Students will be expected to deliver a 15-minute individual presentation applying a key philosophical theory of the problem of evil to a modern 'evil' event.