Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


Because of the ubiquity of evil, religious systems, which aim to influence the way we live our lives, must answer three questions: what is evil, why does evil exist, and how can we eliminate, or at least manage, evil? Call this the broad problem of evil, as opposed to the traditional narrow problem of evil. I reconstruct the answer to the broad problem of evil found in Josiah Royce’s later writings in the second section of this paper. Then, I explain why traditional theodicies are deficient answers to the narrow problem of evil. I argue that Royce’s answer to the broad problem of evil merits a response from philosophers in the Abrahamic traditions because, while it is theistic—and even teleological—in nature, it does not presuppose the Abrahamic conception of God, nor does it suffer from the deficiencies of traditional theodicies.

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