Ted Poston won the 2011 Younger Scholar's Prize for Philosophy of Religion for his fantastic paper, "Social Evil". Here's the abstract:
Social evil is any pain or suffering brought about by game-theoretic interactions of
many individuals. This paper introduces and discusses the problem of social evil. I begin by
focusing on social evil brought about by game-theoretic interactions of rational moral
individuals. The problem social evil poses for theism is distinct from problems posed by natural
and moral evils. Social evil is not a natural evil because it is brought about by the choices of
individuals. But social evil is not a form of moral evil because each individual actor does not
misuse his free will. Traditional defenses for natural and moral evil fall short in addressing the
problem of social evil. The final section of this paper discusses social evil and virtue. I argue
that social evil can arise even where virtue is lacking. Further, I explore the possibility of an
Edwardsian defense of social evil that stresses the high demands of true virtue. The conclusion
of this paper is that social evil is problematic and provides new ground for exploring the
conceptual resources of theism.
Review of Draper and Schellenberg (eds.), <I>Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays</I>
Adam Green reviews the book for NDPR.
0. Introduction 0.1 Mackie argues that the problem of evil proves that either no god exists, or at least that the god of Orthodox Judaism, ...
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"...[O]ne can have a system of beliefs that is similar to those which Plantinga describes, involving massive misconceptions which are p...