Workshop Evil

“Integrating Insights from Science and Philosophy into Theology”


End of the project:
August 31, 2018


Contact us:

Georg Gasser
Program Administrator

Phone:
+43 (0)512 507 8644

Fax:
+43 (0)512 507 2736

E-mail:
analytic-theology@uibk.ac.at

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

Logo of the University Innsbruck
Supported by a grant from the
Logo of the Templeton Foundation

Workshop "The Problem of Evil in the Contemporary Debate"

Analytic Theology Project Innsbruck University - Cluster Università Cattolica di Milano

May 20 - 21, 2014
Dekanatssitzungssaal der Theologischen Fakultät, Innsbruck

The topic of the workshop is the contemporary debate on the problem of evil. We will focus on the renewed interest for the logical argument from evil, on the explanatory versions of the evidential argument from evil and on narrative approaches as alternative theistic answers to both problems.

All interested are invited to register till May 14, 2014: marco.benasso@uibk.ac.at

Talks 45 min, follwed by 30 min discussions. Conference language: English.

Schedule:

Tuesday, May 20:

9:15-9:30   Georg Gasser: Welcome and introduction
     
09:30-10:15   Aldo Frigerio:
In Defense of the Timeless Solution to the Problem of Free Will and Divine Foreknowledge
10:15-10:45   Discussion
     
10:45-11:00   Pausa caffè
     
11:00-11:45   Ciro De Florio:
God, Evil, and Alvin Plantinga. On the Free-Will Defense
11:45-12:15   Discussion
     
12:15-16:00   Lunch break
     
16:00-16:45   Lorenzo Fossati:
Karl Barth and Heinrich Scholz on Faith and Reason: Prolegomena for a Theodicy
16:45-17:15   Discussion
     
17:15-17:30   Pausa caffè
     
17:30-18:15   Johannes Grössl:
Taking the Afterlife into Account: A Purgatory Theodicy
18:15-18:45   Discussion


Wednesday, May 21:

9:15-10:00   Marco Benasso: From Evil to God. A Theistic Inference to the Best Explanation
10:00-10:30   Discussion
     
10:30-10:45   Pausa caffè
     
10:45-11:30   Georg Gasser: Stump’s Defense, Shared Attention and Spiritual Suffering
11:30-12:00   Discussion

Abstracts

Lorenzo Fossati: Karl Barth and Heinrich Scholz on Faith and Reason: Prolegomena for a Theodicy
I will analyze a few questions of Heinrich Scholz on Karl Barth’s dialectic theology: Is possible to view 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 a theodicy.

Aldo Frigerio: In Defense of the Timeless Solution to Divine Foreknowledge
I will defend a timeless solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge by using a special temporal framework, which models both the flow of time and a libertarian understanding  of freedom. The propositions describing an action have an indeterminate truth value until the agent makes her choice and become true or false when a decision is taken. In order to account for this change of truth value, a multiple frame structure is introduced in which every frame represents a privileged time, with its past and the possible open alternative futures. God atemporally knows all the frames and truth values with respect to each of them. Since divine knowledge of what an agent decides in a certain temporal frame depends on the agent’s act itself, divine knowledge is not in contrast with the agent’s free-will.

Ciro De Florio: God, Evil, and Alvin Plantinga. On the Free-Will Defense
I will give a critical account of Plantinga’s well-known argument to the effect that the existence of an omnipotent and morally perfect God is consistent with the actual presence of evil. After quickly presenting Plantinga’s view, I critically discuss both the idea of divine knowledge of conditionals of freedom and the concept of transworld depravity. Then, I will sketch our own version of the Free-Will Defence, which maintains that moral evil depends on the misuse of human freedom. However, my argument does not hinge on problematic metaphysical assumptions, but depends only on a certain definition of a free act and a particular interpretation of divine omniscience.

Johannes Grössl: Taking the Afterlife into Account: A Purgatory Theodicy
 I further develop St. Paul’s theodicy of all-justifying joy in heaven to an expanded afterlife theodicy. I argue that St. Paul’s original strategy is not compatible with God’s moral perfectness, which requires God to minimize suffering, all other things being equal. Since the amount of joy in heaven can hardly be dependent on one’s deeds in life, it is necessary to give consideration to an intermediate state in the afterlife, which could be used to justify gratuitous suffering in the life before death. If worldly suffering disproportionally reduces the amount of suffering in purgatory, it might be rational for God to afflict gratuitous evil unto us, thereby minimizing the suffering regarding the whole of reality – world and purgatory combined.

Marco Benasso: From Evil to God. A Theistic Inference to the Best Explanation
Explanatory arguments are evidential arguments from evil working in a Bayesian framework. Especially Paul Draper pointed out how a “Hypotheses of Indifference”, which holds that should supernatural beings exist, they are indifferent to our suffering, explains suffering better than any theistic hypotheses. I take this kind of arguments to be the most effective challenge to traditional Theism. Typically, for assessing their conclusion they use a sort of inference to the best explanation, evaluating which of the given alternative hypotheses have the highest likelihood. As I will try to show, the atheistic conclusion can be precluded by giving good arguments for assigning different priors to the concurrent hypotheses.

Georg Gasser: Stump’s Defense, Shared Attention and Spiritual Suffering
In her opus magnum „Wandering in Darkness” Eleonore Stump makes vast use of a cognitive mechanism called ‘shared’ or ‘joint attention’. I outline the mechanism of shared attention and point out which role it plays in her overall defense. Then I discuss whether this hermeneutical key is also applicable to one particular form of suffering, the experience of loneliness and abandonment which people longing for God and living a deep spiritual life report quite often and what the spiritual literature calls the “dark night of the soul”. Finally I indicate how this apparent counter-example to Stump’s conditions for a human person’s shared attention with God might be combined with Stump’s account, thereby, however, disclosing also certain limits of Stump’s defense.