David Hume

Hume and The Problem of Evil

Evil as an Argument Against God's Existence

  1. The Problem: divine benevolence cannot be inferred from our experience with the world

    1. There is no evidence FOR benevolence - Happiness is not common to the universe

      1. Demea: temporal life cannot be compared with eternal life

      2. Cleanthes: actual suffering is less common than actual happiness

      3. Philo: actual suffering is greater than actual happiness

    2. There is evidence AGAINST benevolence - argument to the best explanation

      1. A cause can only be inferred from its effect

      2. Suffering is derived from four causes:

        1. the unnecessary amount of suffering

        2. the blind machinery of natural law

        3. the limited powers a abilities afforded to sentient creatures

        4. the inaccurate or unnecessary operations of nature

  2. The Solution: viewed objectively, the universe is amoral (the peril of anthropocentrism)

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