Problem of Evil
The Problem of Evil 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
Gareth Evans Jones
This module will outline the problem of evil, both in its historical forms (Epicurus, Hume) and its more modern presentations (J. L. Mackie, William Rowe). It will discuss the major solutions that have been offered to the problem of evil (free will defence, soul-making theodicy), along with the major thinkers who have contributed to the contemporary discussion of these solutions (Alvin Plantinga, John Hick, Marilyn Adams). Finally, it will discuss the recent development of ‘anti-theodicy’, through the work of Kenneth Surin, D. Z. Phillips, Nick Trakakis, and Toby Betenson (i.e., the convener of this course).
-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.
- Students will be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and a high level of understanding of the complexity of the problem of evil as a philosophical, religious, historical, and cultural matter.
- Students will be able to develop certain subject-specific skills during the course of the module, including: analysis, communication, presenting ideas in a clear and coherent manner, written skills, and effective verbal skills.
- Students will demonstrate key critical skills in response to the different arguments presented with regards to the problem of evil.
- Students will develop many key skills which are foundational to their academic progress, including essay writing, presentation of thoughts verbally and written, and key analytical thought.
1 2,500-word essay in response to one of a selection of essay topics.
A 10-minute oral presentation.