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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2017

Jonathan Curtis Rutledge
Pages 17-32
DOI: 10.5840/faithphil201712576

Commonsense, Skeptical Theism, and Different Sorts of Closure of Inquiry Defeat

Trent Dougherty argues (contra Jonathan Matheson) that when taking into consideration the probabilities involving skeptical theism (ST) and gratuitous evils, an agent may reasonably affirm both ST and that gratuitous evils exist. In other words, Dougherty thinks that assigning a greater than .5 probability to ST is insufficient to defeat the commonsense problem of evil. I argue that Dougherty’s response assumes, incorrectly, that ST functions solely as an evidential defeater, and that, when understood as a closure of inquiry defeater, ST may still defeat reasonable belief in gratuitous evils, even in the face of strong evidence that gratuitous evils exist.

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