Leibniz, freedom, and the problem of evil

Gottfried_Wilhelm_von_LeibnizMisery is all around us.  You don’t even have to look away from The Philosopher’s Eye to learn how hazardous the world is: we’ve discussed on this blog how the deadly swine flu is becoming even more virulent and how 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.

The fact that there’s so much suffering is already bad enough.  But it poses a special problem for theists who believe in an omnipotent and good God.  How could such a God allow so many people to suffer so much?  This is the (or a) Problem of Evil.  Leibniz‘s famous, deeply counterintuitive answer to the Problem of Evil is to argue that, despite appearances, we inhabit the best possible world.  Over the weekend, philosophers Jan Cover and Michael Murray appeared on Bloggingheads.tv to discuss this strange idea.

Another part of Murray’s and Cover’s conversation worth highlighting concerns Leibniz on freedom.  In this brief clip, Murray explains why theists who want to solve the problem of evil might want to avoid compatibilism.

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