Compatibilist Freedom and the Problem of Evil

Jennifer Gillett

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Questions about whether humans have free will, and what we actually mean by that term free will, are among some of the most contentious and long-standing questions in philosophy. Our responses to these questions have the potential to impact our views on a wide range of other issues; for example, on issues such as whether it is fair to punish criminals for their actions, or whether freedom should be seen as an essential feature of human nature or the human experience. Free will is often associated with being able to choose between different alternatives. However, this thesis argues that we can still have free will even if our actions are determined by factors that are outside of our control and even if we don’t have genuine alternative options available for us to choose from.
This is a position that has gained popularity in some areas of philosophy, but it is a position that is not well accepted within the philosophy of religion. This thesis therefore tries to establish that this view of free will is a viable position for philosophers of religion, and one that actually can be seen to have a number of advantages compared to other views of free will that are more common within this particular area of philosophy. To do so, this work adopts a philosophical, as opposed to theological, methodology and approach. It focuses on exploring different concepts and arguments in order to gain a deeper understanding of the concept of freedom and its relation to the problem of evil – one of the most challenging and high profile issues within the philosophy of religion.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Drees, Willem B., Promotor
  • Sarot, Marcel, Promotor
  • Archer, Alfred, Member PhD commission
  • Jonkers, Peter, Member PhD commission
  • Scrutton, A.P., Member PhD commission, External person
Award date11 Dec 2018
Place of PublicationS.l.
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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