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If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Philosophical Books Volume 47, Issue 4. Nicholas Everitt the university of east anglia Search for more papers by this author.

Philosophy of Religion 10: Anti-theistic arguments

Read the full text. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Volume 47 , Issue 4 October Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Swinburne offers two reasons for thinking that the order of the universe is more probable on theism than on its negation.

The first is that the order seems improbable in the absence of an explanation and so cries out for explanation in terms of a common source. The second is that there are reasons for God to make an orderly universe: One is that order is a necessary condition of beauty, and there is good reason for God to prefer beauty to ugliness in creating; another is that order is a necessary condition of finite rational agents growing in knowledge and power, and there is some reason for God to make finite creatures with the opportunity to grow in knowledge and power. The teleological argument plays a limited role in Swinburne's natural theology.

Since it is an inductive argument, it does not prove the existence of God. Swinburne does not claim that by itself it shows that theism is more probable than not; nor does he claim that by itself it establishes the rational permissibility of belief in God. Hence, only modest claims should be made on behalf of these three arguments for theism.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

Their authors are well aware that they do not prove the existence of God. However, they may show that belief in God is reasonable or contributes to a cumulative case for the rationality of theistic belief. According to J.


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Mackie , the existence of a God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good is inconsistent with the existence of evil. If this is correct, we may infer that God does not exist from our knowledge that evil does exist. A solution to this logical problem of evil would be a proof that the existence of God is, after all, consistent with the existence of evil.

One way to prove consistency would be to find a proposition that is consistent with the proposition that God exists and that, when conjoined with the proposition that God exists, entails that evil exists. This is the strategy employed in Plantin-ga's free-will defense against the logical problem of evil Plantinga, The intuitive idea on which the free-will defense rests is simple. Only genuinely free creatures are capable of producing moral good and moral evil. Of course, God could create a world without free creatures in it, but such a world would lack both moral good and moral evil.

If God does create a world with free creatures in it, then it is partly up to them and not wholly up to God what balance of moral good and evil the world contains. The gift of creaturely freedom limits the power of an omnipotent God. According to Plantinga, it is possible that every free creature God could have created would produce at least some moral evil. Hence, it is possible that God could not have created a world containing moral good but no moral evil.

Consider the proposition that God could not have created a world containing moral good but no moral evil and yet creates a world containing moral good. The free-will defense claims that this proposition is consistent with the proposition that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good. But these two propositions entail that moral evil exists and thus that evil exists.

Hence, if the defense's consistency claim is true, the existence of a God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good is consistent with the existence of evil. Therefore, the free-will defense is a successful solution of the logical problem of evil if its consistency claim is true. That claim certainly appears to be plausible. Most philosophers who have studied the matter are prepared to grant that the existence of God is consistent with the existence of evil.

The focus of discussion has shifted from the logical to the evidential problem of evil. The evils within our ken are evidence against the existence of God. The question is whether they make theism improbable or render theistic belief unwarranted or irrational.

Daniel Dennett - Arguments for Atheism?

William L. Rowe presents the evidential problem of evil in terms of two vivid examples of evil.

Jordan howard sobel logic and theism pdf

Bambi is a fawn who is trapped in a forest fire and horribly burned; Bambi dies after several days of intense agony. Sue is a young girl who is raped and beaten by her mother's boyfriend; he then strangles her to death. According to Rowe, no good state of affairs we know of is such that an omnipotent, omniscient being's obtaining it would morally justify that being's permitting the suffering and death of Bambi or Sue.

From this premise he infers that no good state of affairs is such that an omnipotent, omniscient being's obtaining it would morally justify that being in permitting the suffering and death of Bambi or Sue. If there were an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being, there would be some good state of affairs such that the being's obtaining it would morally justify the being's permitting the suffering and death of Bambi or Sue.

Hence, it may be concluded that no omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being exists. The first step in this argument is an inductive inference from a sample, good states of affairs known to us, to a larger population, good states of affairs without qualification. So it is possible that no good state of affairs known to us morally justifies such evils but some good state of affairs unknown to us morally justifies them.

But Rowe argues that the inference's premise gives him a reason to accept its conclusion. We are often justified in inferring from the known to the unknown. If I have encountered many pit bulls and all of them are vicious, I have a reason to believe all pit bulls are vicious. William P. Alston challenges Rowe's inference. As he sees it, when we justifiably infer from the known to the unknown, we typically have background knowledge to assure us that the known sample is likely to be representative of the wider population.


  1. Playing in the Street.
  2. Logic and Theism: Arguments for and against Beliefs in God - Jordan Howard Sobel - Google книги.
  3. Moral Arguments for the Existence of God (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
  4. Flanimals.
  5. We know, for example, that character traits are often breed-specific in dogs. According to Alston, we have no such knowledge of the population of good states of affairs because we have no way of anticipating what is in the class of good states of affairs unknown to us. He likens Rowe's reasoning to inferring, in , from the fact that no one has yet voyaged to the moon that no one will ever do so. The disagreement between Rowe and Alston illustrates the lack of a philosophical consensus on a solution to the evidential problem of evil.

    It is safe to predict continued debate about whether horrible evils such as the suffering and death of Bambi or Sue provide sufficient evidence to show that theistic belief is unjustified or unreasonable. See also Alston, William P. Alston, W. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview,