Sunday, 22 July 2007
While I have not published in this area yet I still maintain an interest in philosophy of religion from the work I did in my masters thesis. This is an area I would like to develop in the future.
MA: God the Utilitarian? The Ethics of Theodicy
My MA thesis was on the Argument from Evil, in particular the ethical assumptions made by theodicies. In this work I argued that for theodicies (Responses to the Argument from Evil) to succeed in justifying the belief in the existence of God despite the apparent existence of evil, they are required to make certain controversial methodological assumptions. In general theodicies are required to assume that some form of consequentialist ethical theory is the correct ethical theory. Specifically theodicies require a principle such as 'the end justifies the means' and that it is permissible to trade harms from one for a benefit for others. Since Utilitarianism seems to be the best consequentialist theory to capture our other beliefs about the goodness of God, I assessed whether the argument from evil succeeds if utilitarianism is correct. I concluded that though taking a utilitarian perspective does support the ethical reasoning of theodicies there are also good reasons on the basis of utilitarianism to reject the existence of God. Finally I looked at other ways of justifying the belief in the existence of God, despite the existence of evil, given the constraint of how it seems reasonable to interpret omnibenevolence, and concluded that present theodicies require ethically unjustifiable claims to be true.