Gratuitous Evils and Organic Unities
Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers University)

October 30, 2013, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Institute for Philosophy & Religion, Boston University

Room 325
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston University School of Theology
United States

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Part of the Boston University’s Institute for Philosophy & Religion 2013-2014 Lecture Series, “The Contemporary Face of Suffering"

"Gratuitous Evils and Organic Unities"
Dean Zimmerman (Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 5 PM

Boston University School of Theology
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 325
Campus map and directions:

Supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities. This event is free and open to the public.

How could there be suffering in a world created by a loving God?  It has been said that bad states of affairs, including pain and other forms of suffering, can play a crucial role in certain overall very good states of affairs — forming “organic unities,” wholes not equal to the sum of the values of their parts. But what kinds of greater goods could be served by the suffering we actually see?  Christian theology provides various resources for attempting to answer this daunting question; and the answers have varying degrees of plausibility. If one cannot tell whether certain instances of suffering are crucial to any kind of good organic unity, what should one conclude about the existence — or at least the goodness — of God?

Dean Zimmerman is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, and specializes in metaphysics (causation and the laws of nature) and the philosophy of religion (whether God is “outside of time”). He is the director of Metaphysical Mayhem (a biennial summer workshop for graduate students) and co-organizer, with Michael Rota, of the St. Thomas Summer Seminars in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology (re-convening in 2014). With Peter van Inwagen, he is the author of Persons: Human and Divine and the editor of Metaphysics: The Big Questions; and with Michael Loux, editor of The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics.  He is also co-editor of the Oxford Studies in Metaphysics with Karen Bennett. Currently, he is writing a book on the philosophy of religion for the Princeton Foundations of Philosophy series.
Institute for Philosophy & Religion
Boston University
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 523
Boston, MA 02215
T 617-353-3067   Fax 617-353-6805
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