“Integrating Insights from Science and Philosophy into Theology”

End of the project:
August 31, 2018

Contact us:

Georg Gasser
Program Administrator

+43 (0)512 507 8644

+43 (0)512 507 2736

Institut für Christliche Philosophie
Universität Innsbruck
Karl-Rahner-Platz 1
A-6020 Innsbruck

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Supported by a grant from the
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The Problem of Evil

The problem of Evil is the main theme of the Catholic University of Milan Cluster. As it is well known, it is a very old and incredibly complex issue: therefore, the group will focus on some topics which are, although different, deeply intertwined. The fil rouge of our research is the challenge issued by the presence of Evil to the reasonableness of faith. The properly philosophical aspect of problem concerns the very conditions on which it is rational, in a certain sense, to admit the existence of God – as it is conceived by classical theism – and the presence of Evil. So, we have two research fields: on the one hand, we will discuss some classical issues of theodicy (e.g., Free Will defence, the problem of omniscience and omnipotence, the problem of natural evil); on the the other hand, we will take into account other approaches to this problem as those hinged on a narrative and experience-based rationality (e.g., Eleonore Stump’s approach).
The fundamental idea, shared by all the components of the group and refering to the Analytic Theology project, is that the human reason is, in principle, able to give an explanation to the problem of Evil and that the objectivity and the grounding of the procedures of argumentation must be preserved, even in the different approaches: from possible worlds semantics to the biblical story of Job.


Andrea Ciceri
C.S. Lewis on Evil
Recently a part of the Anglo-American philosophy has been concerned with a narrative approach for a possible solution to the problem of evil (for instance, Eleonore Stump’s Wandering In Darkness). The aim of my work is to analyse the roots of this process in the works of one of the most popular authors of the last century: C.S. Lewis. In Lewis' works we find both the philosophical knowledge necessary to answer to the questions raised by the contemporary debate and the artistic skills needed to transform its theoretical beliefs into novels and short stories of great success. I would argue further that the soul-making theodicy of John Hick takes its origin and influence in various works of C.S. Lewis, in particular the “The Great Divorce.”

Ciro De Florio
Free Will and Possible Worlds
In Plantinga’s Nature of Necessity there is a very deep analysis of the Free Will defense: the presence of moral Evil in the World is a necessary consequence of the existence of free human agents. But, is that true? Is it not possible, for God, to create a world with free agents and with no evils? And, moreover, why this extraordinary great quantity of gratuitous evil? In this paper I want to investigate the logical and ontological relationship between Free Will and Evil, taking into account the very ontological status of possible worlds and the concept of the Best of Possible Worlds.

Lorenzo Fossati
Karl Barth and Heinrich Scholz on faith and reason: prolegomena for theodicy
In this project we want to analyze a few questiones of Heinrich Scholz on dialectic theology, especially the theology of Karl Barth: How it is possible to treat theology as a science? What is the meaning of a “theological proposition”? Which minimal formal constraints of meaningfulness shared with the other sciences shall be observed in theological research? These issues are the necessary prerequisites for any rational discourse on questions related to faith, hence also for theodicy.

Aldo Frigerio
Freedom and Omniscience
My area of interest is the relation between divine prescience and human freedom. An agent is free if it is not determinated if she will do x or non-x in the future. Now, if God is omniscient, he already knows if a human agent will do x or non-x. But if God already knows this, it does not seem to be indeterminate after all whether the human agent will do x or non-x. Thus, the human agent is not free. It seems that we must give up either the idea that God is omniscient or the idea that human agents are free. My aim is to show that this conclusion does not follow and that divine omniscience is reconcilable with human freedom.

Sergio Galvan

Paolo Gomarasca
Job’s suffering and the Problem of Evil
The aim of the project is to examine the problem of suffering in the Book of Job and the solution it offers. For this reason, it is structured as follows: Section I intends to map the narrative discourses, with reference to theodical and anti-theodical arguments discussed in the current debate on analytic philosophy of religion. Section II sketches Stump’s interpretation of God’s speech (the so-called "second personal account") and tries to justify the possibility to overcome the final split between theoretical and practical approach to the problem of evil: can the "second-person account" theoretically defend an anti-skeptical strategy, answering, at the same time, to the practical objections excepted by anti-theodical critique?

Alessandro Venturin
Armin Kreiner’s theodicy: Free will and the permission of evil
The intrinsic value of free will seems to legitimate, for its realization, the permission of moral evil by God. But is this permission really necessary for the existence of free agents? From a logical point of view, I want to analyze what type of relation occurs between the existence of evil and free will, taking into particular consideration the solution suggested by Armin Kreiner.

Luca Vettorello
Omnipotence against evil
One of the most controversial attribute of God is the omnipotence, especially in respect with the scandal of evil and of the innocent suffering in the world. So, a deeper analysis of this attribute can offer new suggestions in the theodicy debate, outlining the real role of God and of men about the presence of natural evil.

The project will run from October 2012 to May 2014, consisting of monthly seminars. The organization of an international workshop with the other members of Analytic Theology Project is scheduled. The results of the research could be submitted on peer reviewed international journals and / or collected in a book. The language of all group activity will be English.