A place for moral theory in the argument from evil
Reed, Robert P
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Arguments from evil intend to prove that the existence of an all-powerful and morally-perfect being would preclude the existence of evil. Such arguments hold that the absence of evil is a necessary consequence of a morally-perfect and all-powerful being existing. Yet evil does exist and so by modus tollens, God must not. Despite the presence of unmistakably moral terms in these arguments such as “evil” and “morally-perfect”, treatments of the problem of evil in the philosophical literature have avoided discussing the related normative and metaethical issues and so have hindered the progress of the debate. Whether or not the attributes of being all-powerful and being morally-perfect do in fact preclude the existence of evil is substantially (if not entirely) determined by the moral or normative structure of the world: the moral truths about good, evil, normativity, right action etc. and any properties and facts about the world needed to ground them (supposing moral truths require such grounding). So the very same truths moral philosophers seek while doing normative ethics will largely determine whether the existence of a morally-perfect and omnipotent being precludes the existence of evil. The truth about God and evil hinges upon the truth about morality. Thus, the question of whether or not God and evil can coexist cannot be answered without committing to the sorts of normative claims at issue in moral philosophy.