LEIBNIZ’S CONCEPTION OF THE PROBLEM OF EVIL BY OKOJIE E. PETER firstname.lastname@example.org MAY 2013 INTRODUCTION For many centuries, philosophers have been discussing evil, how it exists in the world, and how this relates to God. The discussion on evil and its relations to us is not an easy one though. It is commonly called the problem of evil. The problem of evil in contemporary philosophy is generally regarded as an argument for atheism. The atheist contends that God and evil are incompatible, and given that evil clearly exists, God cannot exist. The problem is generally used to disprove God’s existence by showing an inconsistency between an all-powerful, all-good, and all-knowing God; and the existence of evil. Philosophers over the centuries
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Amongst such ancient figures are: the Pythagoreans and Heraclitus. In the Pythagoreans’ view of the world as being governed by a continual conflict between order and disorder, good is placed on the side of order while evil on the side of disorder. While introducing the notion of the civil law as a reflection of the divine law which foreshadows the Stoics’ and medievals’ position, Heraclitus however balances off with another thought: “To God all things are fair and good and just, but men have supposed some unjust and some just.”7 By this Heraclitus seems to suggest there is no real distinction between good and evil, he means whatever is, is good. All these positions can be linked in the formulation of the problem of evil.
William F. Lawhead, The Voyage of Discovery: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, 2nd ed., (Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2002) p.258 3 R. Douglas Geivett, Evil and the Evidence for God (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993) p.3 4 Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig, (London and New York: Routledge) p.551 5 William F. Lawhead, Op. Cit., p.91 6 David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1947) p.243 7 William F. Lawhead, Op. Cit., p19
The problem of evil in contemporary philosophy is regarded as an argument for atheism. The atheist contends that God and evil are incompatible, and given that evil clearly