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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 52, Issue 4, December 2012

Siobhan Nash-Marshall
Pages 455-470

Saint Anselm and the Problem of Evil, or On Freeing Evil From the “Problem of Evil”

This article addresses one of the crucial metaphysical presuppositions of the contemporary problem of evil: the belief that evil is that which a good thing must eliminate, or to be more precise, that evil is that which God must eliminate. The first part analyzes J. L. Mackie’s atheological argument in “Evil and Omnipotence.” The second part analyzes the reasons why Saint Anselm rejected the claim that God must eliminate evil in his De Casu Diaboli. The article’s goal is not just raise crucial questions with respect to contemporary approaches to evil. It is also to reflect with Saint Anselm upon one of the genuine aporiai posed by existing evils: how does one remove them?

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