RA002: Article: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism

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After the apparent demise of a popular version of the logical problem of evil, philosopher William Rowe sought to resurrect the problem of evil in an inductive form. The result was his 1979 article titled The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism. In this episode, Justin Schieber and Ben Watkins have an in-depth dialogue about that important article.

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3 Responses to RA002: Article: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism

  1. Jon says:

    I’m a little confused about the Moorean shift mentioned at the end of the episode. If a theist dismisses the problem of evil argument based on other arguments, couldn’t I shut down those other arguments based on the problem of evil argument? So if the theist would say “I reject your conclusion based on the cosmological argument,” couldn’t I then say “I reject the conclusion of the cosmological argument based on the problem of evil”?

    This just seems like a glorified way of shutting down discussion.

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    • Hi Jon,

      Perhaps we gave the wrong impression. The theist deploying the Moorean shift isn’t dismissing the problem of evil. Rather, they are considering Rowe’s argument in the context of a preexisting belief in God and any arguments they believe support that belief.

      That preexisting belief in God will effect the theist’s initial epistemic probability of premise 1 of Rowe’s argument just as one’s background information about any particular subject will effect one’s initial epistemic probability of a claim within that subject.

      Moreover, this doesn’t shut down discussion. It does, at least temporarily, shift the conversation to those independent arguments. Are they any good? If not, the justification for the Moorean shift will slowly degrade.

      Thanks for commenting!

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      • Jon says:

        I think I understand now- the Moorean shift only works in this case because premise 1 relies on a sort of subjective probability assessment. Thank you!

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