The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought

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The widespread and devasting effects of evil are all too clear. Questions about how and why evil exists in a world that, according to many, is created and sustained by a loving and powerful God have been collected under the name "the problem of evil." 

Philosophers and theologians have long wrestled with problems of evil and continue to propose a variety of answers to these challenges. Exploring the cogency and significance of many of these answers is the overall goal of "The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought."

This multi-faceted, four-year research initiative, spearheaded by the Center for Philosophy of Religion, with generous support from the John Templeton Foundation, funded historical and conceptual research on the problem of evil. We sponsored a wide-ranging series of research activities and events, including:

  • fellowships
  • research grants
  • conferences
  • seminars
  • workshops
  • publications
  • translations
  • popular essay prizes

The research initiative was divided into three components. The first component treated the problem of evil as it was discussed in early modern philosophy. The second component treated skeptical theism. The third component addressed pain and the nature of minds.

These initiatives stimulated and promoted new work on the problem of evil relevant both to the scholarly community and to a larger public audience.

Michael C. Rea, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion, and Samuel Newlands, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion, directed the research initiative.