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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 3, July 2000

Eric Reitan
Pages 306-319
DOI: 10.5840/faithphil200017318

Does the Argument from Evil Assume a Consequentialist Morality?

In this paper, I argue that the some of the most popular and influential formulations of the Argument from Evil (AE) assume a moral perspective that is essentially consequentialist, and would therefore be unacceptable to deontologists. Specifically, I examine formulations of the argument offered by William Rowe and Bruce Russell, both of whom explicitly assert that their formulation of AE is theoretically neutral with respect to consequentialism, and can be read in a way that is unobjectionable to deontologists. I argue that, in fact, this in not the case. Finally, I look at the implications of the consequentialist assumptions of AE for theodicies based on free will.

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