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Humanities 2017, 6(4), 98; doi:10.3390/h6040098

Comparing Three Twentieth-Century Philosophical Antitheodicies

Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 2 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy in the 1900s)
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Abstract

This paper compares three twentieth-century examples of antitheodicist thought in the philosophy of religion (and, more generally, ethics): William James’s pragmatism, D.Z. Phillips’s Wittgensteinianism, and Emmanuel Levinas’s post-Holocaust ethical reflection on suffering. It is argued that all three—despite their enormous differences, given that the three thinkers discussed come from distinct philosophical traditions—share the fundamental antitheodicist argument according to which theodicies seeking to justify God’s reasons for allowing the world to contain horrible evil and suffering amount to morally problematic, or even immoral, failures to acknowledge other human beings and their meaningless suffering. Furthermore, it is suggested that this antitheodicist line of thought shared by all three is based on a Kantian transcendental analysis of the necessary conditions for the possibility of occupying a moral perspective on the world. View Full-Text
Keywords: evil; suffering; theodicy; antitheodicy; theodicism; antitheodicism; recognition; acknowledgment; W. James; D. Z. Phillips; E. Levinas evil; suffering; theodicy; antitheodicy; theodicism; antitheodicism; recognition; acknowledgment; W. James; D. Z. Phillips; E. Levinas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pihlström, S. Comparing Three Twentieth-Century Philosophical Antitheodicies. Humanities 2017, 6, 98.

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