Theodicy by Other Means? Rethinking "God after Auschwitz” through the Dialectics of Antitheodicism

Authors

  • Sami Pihlstrom University of Helsinki, Finland

Keywords:

Theodicy, Antitheodicy, Theodicism, Antitheodicism, Suffering, The problem of evil and suffering, Holocaust

Abstract

This paper poses a self-reflective critical question to antitheodicism that rejects all theodicies as morally unacceptable failures to acknowledge other human beings' suffering in its meaninglessness. While theodicies may be argued to pursue a misconceived "cosmic" harmony in their attempts to find a higher meaning in suffering, a similar charge may apply to antitheodicies at the meta-level: precisely by rejecting the moral failure of theodicies, we may, in developing antitheodicies, seek a meta-level harmonious reconciliation with the reality of suffering. Therefore, antitheodicism, the paper argues, needs to be understood as an endless process of self-critical examination of our ethical response to otherness and suffering. This conclusion is relevant to, e.g., what we may claim to "learn from" historical moral catastrophes such as the Holocaust.

Author Biography

Sami Pihlstrom, University of Helsinki, Finland

Professor of Philosophy of Religion, University of Helsinki, Finland

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Published

03-10-2020

How to Cite

Pihlstrom, S. (2020). Theodicy by Other Means? Rethinking "God after Auschwitz” through the Dialectics of Antitheodicism. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 16(2), 475–494. Retrieved from https://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/868