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A Kantian Response to the Problem of Evil: Living in the Moral World

Insole, Christopher J.

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Abstract

James Sterba has presented a powerful and existentially sincere form of the problem of evil, arguing that it is logically impossible for God to exist, given that there are powerful moral requirements to prevent evil, where one can, and that these requirements would bind an all-powerful and good God, who would indeed be able to prevent such evil. The ‘Kantian’ argument that I set out, if accepted, would undermine the following stage of Sterba’s argument: Significant and especially horrendous evil consequences of immoral actions do obtain all around us, which, if God exists, would have to be through his permission. The Kantian argument will hold that we are able to believe that, in some sense, such horrendous evil consequences do not really obtain, although they appear to. The claim is not that the Kantian argument is ‘persuasive’, but that if some Kantian assumptions are granted, we do have a response to Sterba, which throws open a different way of looking at things. I conclude with some more informal reflections on what we might take away from the Kantian argument, even if we do not accept the deep assumptions, or the progression of the argument. I will not worry too much about demonstrating that this is a ‘correct reading’ of Kant, although I think it is.

Citation

Insole, C. J. (2023). A Kantian Response to the Problem of Evil: Living in the Moral World. Religions, 14(2), Article 227. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020227

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2023
Journal Religions
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 2
Article Number 227
DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020227

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