A Kantian response to the problem of evil : Living in the moral world

Journal article


Insole, Christopher J.. (2023). A Kantian response to the problem of evil : Living in the moral world. Religions. 14(2), p. Article 227. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020227
AuthorsInsole, Christopher J.
Abstract

James Sterba has presented a powerful and existentially sincere form of the problem of evil, arguing that it is logically impossible for God to exist, given that there are powerful moral requirements to prevent evil, where one can, and that these requirements would bind an all-powerful and good God, who would indeed be able to prevent such evil. The ‘Kantian’ argument that I set out, if accepted, would undermine the following stage of Sterba’s argument: Significant and especially horrendous evil consequences of immoral actions do obtain all around us, which, if God exists, would have to be through his permission. The Kantian argument will hold that we are able to believe that, in some sense, such horrendous evil consequences do not really obtain, although they appear to. The claim is not that the Kantian argument is ‘persuasive’, but that if some Kantian assumptions are granted, we do have a response to Sterba, which throws open a different way of looking at things. I conclude with some more informal reflections on what we might take away from the Kantian argument, even if we do not accept the deep assumptions, or the progression of the argument. I will not worry too much about demonstrating that this is a ‘correct reading’ of Kant, although I think it is.

KeywordsKant; evil; Sterba; God
Year2023
JournalReligions
Journal citation14 (2), p. Article 227
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI AG)
ISSN2077-1444
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020227
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85148878590
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range1-15
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online08 Feb 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted31 Jan 2023
Deposited20 Dec 2023
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