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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 28, Issue 4, October 2011

Kenneth Boyce
Pages 371-384
DOI: 10.5840/faithphil201128438

Non-Moral Evil and the Free Will Defense

Paradigmatic examples of logical arguments from evil are attempts to establish that the following claims are inconsistent with one another: (1) God is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good. (2) There is evil in the world. Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense resists such arguments by providing a positive case that (1) and (2) are consistent. A weakness in Plantinga’s free will defense, however, is that it does not show that theism is consistent with the proposition that there are non-moral evils in the world (i.e., that there obtain morally bad states of affairs for which no creature is morally responsible). But many of us firmly believe that there are evils of that sort. I show how Plantinga’s free will defense can be extended so as to redress this weakness.