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Interesting Recent Exchange on the Problem of Natural Evil

Alexander Bird is known for his work on dispositional essentialism and, relatedly, his arguments for the metaphysical necessity of the laws of nature (a view which is growing in acceptance among philosophers, I might add).

Recently, Bird had an exchange with Michael Bertrand on the problem of natural evil in The Australasian Journal of Philosophy. The exchange is based on some brief remarks at the end of Bird's paper, "Unexpected A Posteriori Necessary Laws of Nature", Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83:4 (December 2005), pp. 533-548. Bertrand's reply, "God Might Be Responsible for Physical Evil", AJP 87:3 (September 2009), pp. 513-515 can be found here (requires subscription for access), and (the pre-print version of) Bird's rejoinder, "...And Then Again, He Might Not Be", AJP 87(2009), pp. 517-521, can be found here.

I find Bird's reply to the problem of natural evil the most plausible. Unfortunately, as he points out, it comes at a high cost, as it relies on a view according to which the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary, which in turn implies that miracles are metaphysically impossible(!).

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