VIEWS OF GOD AND EVIL: A PERSPECTIVAL APPROACH TO THE ARGUMENT FROM EVIL
Bernard, Christopher William Thomas
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A view referred to as "skeptical theism" has received much attention in recent discussions of the argument from evil against the existence of God. According to skeptical theism, humans are not in an epistemic position to make the inferences necessary for the evidential argument from evil to go through. In this dissertation, I defend the importance of individual variations in epistemic position to our evaluation of the argument from evil. Skeptical theists highlight the inadequacy of the human epistemic position to make the relevant judgments. I underscore the importance of individual differences in epistemic position---perspectival differences---to our evaluation of the argument from evil. (Some would prefer the term "worldview" over "perspective." As I use the term, an epistemic perspective includes a worldview but includes factors that are broader than our beliefs, like practical interests and social factors.) I argue that believers and nonbelievers may be epistemically justified in drawing different conclusions about God from similar evidence because the evidence is judged from different epistemic perspectives. In particular, my discussion focuses on two perspectival factors which have received relatively little attention by analytic philosophers of religion: practical interests and social factors.