God and Evil
The existence of evil in the world provides the principal grounds to question the existence of God. This course is an introduction to this problem.
We will consider the problem and some varieties of the problem and an influential response which has been made to one variety of the problem by the American philosopher, Alvin Plantinga. We will also consider two influential explanations for the existence of evil in a world created by God.
It does not assume any prior specialist knowledge.
Term Starts: 21st January
Week 1: Introduction to the problem of evil.
Week 2: God's nature: power and goodness.
Week 3: The logical problem of evil.
Week 4: Plantinga' s defence of the free will defence.
Week 5: Plantinga's defence of the free will defence.
Week 6: The probabilistic problem of evil.
Week 7: The evidential problem of evil.
Week 8: The existential problem of evil.
Week 9: Theodicy: Augustine.
Week 10: Theodicy: Irenaeus/Hick.
Perterson, M. (ed.), The Problem of Evil: Selected Readings
If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.
If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.
All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.
There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information.
Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.
Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.
To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.
Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.
Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Course Fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Formerly, Research Fellow, Oxford & Visiting Fellow, Harvard & Burney Student, Cambridge. Alongside international articles, he is the author of a clear & original philosophical work on God. He is a Course Director & Tutor, Cambridge.
1. To provide an understanding of the problem of evil (including varieties of the problem).
2. To provide an understanding of one (or more) of the main proposed solutions of the problem and explanations of the existence of evil in a world created by God.
Classes will consist principally of lectures.
By the end of the course students will be expected to:
1. Have an understanding of the problem of evil (including varieties of the problem); and
2. Have an understanding of one (or more) of the main proposed solutions of the problem and explanations of the existence of evil in a a world created by God.
Option A: Three very short (c. 500 words) pieces of written work.
Option B: One short (c. 1500 words) essay. (Students will be asked to provide a very short plan for an essay in this case.)
Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form with any piece of work that is part of the assessment criteria. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.
Level and demands
Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support