If there is an all-good, all-powerful being, why is there so much suffering in the world? This ancient question has come to be known as the problem of evil. We will review and analyze the various arguments that have been put forward by philosophers regarding the problem of evil. This fascinating, ongoing debate provides an excellent case study about philosophically robust arguments, and while we will consider both historical and contemporary positions on both sides, fundamentally, our aim will be to consider what makes a good argument.
Recently, two versions of this problem have been explicitly distinguished. The first form, called the ‘logical problem' is sometimes attributed originally to the ancient philosopher Epicurus. The ‘evidential’ form of the problem is expressed by Hume, who suggests that, based on suffering, there is no evidence of the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent deity. By contrast, other philosophers have pointed out that suffering is justified by various considerations, such as “free will” and other “greater goods” arguments.
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