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Jamesian Finite Theism and the Problems of Suffering

Walter Scott Stepanenko

Abstract

William James advocated a form of finite theism, motivated by epistemological and moral concerns with scholastic theism and pantheism. In this article, I elaborate James’s case for finite theism and his strategy for dealing with these concerns, which I dub the problems of suffering. I contend that James is at the very least implicitly aware that the problem of suffering is not so much one generic problem but a family of related problems. I argue that one of James’s great contributions to philosophical theism is his advocacy for the view that adequate theistic philosophizing is not so much about cracking this family of problems, but finding a version of the problem to embrace.

Keywords

William James, theism, problem of evil, finite theism, pragmatism

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