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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 4, 1999

Philosophies of Religion, Art, and Creativity

Howard Wettstein
Pages 115-125

Against Theodicy

The problem of theodicy is a philosophical classic. I argue that not only are the classical answers suspect, but that the question itself is problematic. In its classical form, the problem presupposes a conception of divinity—call it “perfect-being theology”—that does not go without saying. Even so, there is a significant gap between what the Western religions tell us about the reign of justice and what we seem to find in the world. I argue that approaches to evil need to maintain focus on this discrepancy. I conclude with some suggestions for the shape of “nonopiate” ways of coming to terms with evil.

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