Volume 13, Issue 2, 2011
God and Abstract Objects
Tooley, Plantinga, and the Deontological Argument from Evil
This article criticizes the deontological argument from evil proposed by Michael Tooley in The Knowledge of God. I sketch Tooley’s distinction between deontological and axiological arguments from evil. Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on “controversial ethical claims,” claims that are “likely to be rejected by many theists” and formulates a deontological version in its place. I argue that Alvin Plantinga’s criticism of the moral premises of this argument can be reformulated by appealing to a divine command theory of ethics. So reformulated, I argue that Tooley’s argument relies on controversial moral assumptions that many theists reject.