Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD student of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Law, Theology and Political Science, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Tarbiat Modares University


The Privation Theory of Evil (PT) is a general theory about the nature of evil according to which all kinds of evil have a privative (or negative) nature. During the Middle Ages some great philosopher-theologians such as Augustine and Aquinas endorsed (PT). After being neglected for a long time, recently philosophers of religion have shown interest (PT). In this paper, after a brief review of Augustine’s and Aquinas’ views, we first provide a comprehensive sketch of (PT). Then we examine some of the arguments proposed in favour of (PT) and show that they are not conclusive. Then we discuss two counterexamples proposed by the opponents of (PT), namely pain and moral evil. First, we investigate and critique the views of the two sides and then we argue that the main deficiency of the current debate is the philosophers of religion don’t utilities the relevant theories of philosophy of mind and ethics to illustrate their philosophical grounds. Without clarification of these grounds any well-based judgment about (PT) seems to be impossible.


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