Introduction to Philosophy
Write a two-page (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins)
essay on the following topic. Your essay should NOT include any introduction,
conclusion, footnotes, bibliography, or any other paraphernalia of the standard college
term paper. Avoid the use of jargon (any term that would be unfamiliar to someone
who has not taken a philosophy course) and ‘-isms’ (for example, ‘relativism,’
‘subjectivism,’ ‘nihilism’) UNLESS you give a precise definition of the term with its first
occurrence in your essay. Best to play it safe, though: a philosophical essay ought to be
written in clear, and so short, declarative sentences. In addition, you should not quote,
especially not at any length, from the book or text you are writing about.
First, explain briefly (in no more than a paragraph) what a free will theodicy is. In John
Perry’s Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God, on pages 29-35, the character
Gretchen Weirob raises two objections to the free will theodicy. First, she asks:
“Couldn’t God have created a world with free creatures, but free creatures that have no
relevant weaknesses, so that they always freely choose to do the right thing?” Explain as
clearly as you can why the possibility of a world populated by free creatures who always
freely choose the good is a problem for the free will theodicy. (Hint: if a world of this
sort is really possible, what claim made by the free will theodicy is false?) Second,
Weirob suggests that if God is omniscient, we can’t be free, and if we are free, God can’t
be omniscient (p. 33). Explain briefly the response made by the character David Cohen
to this objection, and Weirob’s reply to this response. Why does Weirob think “God’s
knowledge is a special case” (p. 34)?
Your task, then, is (1) to explain clearly what a free will theodicy is, and (2) to explain
clearly the two objections to a free will theodicy as raised by the character Gretchen
Weirob. You should complete this task in a single, unified essay (that is, we do not want
three separate “short-answers” to the questions posed in this prompt).
*Give this essay another topic which matches your article.