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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 81, Issue 3, Summer 2007

John F. Crosby
Pages 489-505

Doubts About the Privation Theory That Will Not Go Away
Response to Patrick Lee

Towards the end of his response to me, Lee presents an argument for the necessity of interpreting all evil as privation. I counter this argument by showing that it works only for what I call “formal” good and evil, but not for what I call “contentful” good and evil. In fact, evil that is “contentful” presents a challenge to the privation theory that I had not discussed in my article. I then proceed, in the second part of my response, to revisit the three cases of evil that in my original paper I had presented as challenges to the privation theory. I engage Lee’s objections to these three counterexamples and I try to explain in a new way why the principle of badness in each of them, especially in pain/suffering and in moral evil, is not just a lack or a deficiency.

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