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Why not believe in an evil God? Pragmatic encroachment and some implications for philosophy of religion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2015

ANASTASIA PHILIPPA SCRUTTON
Affiliation:
School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK e-mail: t.scrutton@leeds.ac.uk
Corresponding
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Abstract

Pointing to broad symmetries between the idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and all-good, and the idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, but all-evil, the evil-God challenge raises the question of why theists should prefer one over the other. I respond to this challenge by drawing on a recent theory in epistemology, pragmatic encroachment, which asserts that practical considerations can alter the epistemic status of beliefs. I then explore some of the implications of my argument for how we do philosophy of religion, arguing that practical and contextual as well as alethic considerations are properly central to the discipline.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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