Paul Draper (born 1957) is an American philosopher, most known for his work in the philosophy of religion. His work on the evidential argument from evil has been widely influential. He is currently a professor at Purdue University.
He studied at the University of California, graduating B.A. in 1979, M.A. in 1982 and Ph.D. in 1985. He taught philosophy at Florida International University between 1987 and 2006, when he moved to Purdue University.
Paul Draper was editor of the academic journal Philo from 2007 to 2012. His philosophical inquiry is focused on issues in the philosophy of religion; he has written extensively on the problem of evil, including the argument that the process of natural selection is sufficiently brutal so as to pose a problem for those who believe in an omnipotent and morally good creator. In 1997, he debated Christian philosopher William Lane Craig over the existence of God. He has edited a debate collection called God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence, released as an e-book in 2007.
One of Draper's influential and widely-reprinted papers is "Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists", published in the journal Noûs in 1989. In it, Draper proposes a modification and extension of the "problem of evil" argument. Instead of claiming that the existence of evil logically contradicts theism, he argues that the "hypothesis of indifference", which holds that should supernatural beings exist, they are indifferent to our suffering, better explains the existence of suffering. Since the hypothesis of indifference is logically incompatible with theism, he considers this an evidentiary problem for theism. The paper relies significantly on the use of epistemic probabilities, equivalent to those used in Bayesian reasoning. He is also responsible for first formulating "skeptical theism."
Notes and references
- CV, Purdue University site.
- "Paul Draper, Professor". Philosopher Compass. Blackwell publishing. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- Draper, Paul. "Natural Selection and the Problem of Evil". The Great Debate. Internet Infidels. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- The Existence of God: William Lane Craig vs Paul Draper U.S. Military Academy at West Point. September 30, 1997.
- Paul Draper (editor). "God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence". Internet Infidels. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- Lowder, Jeffrey Jay. "The Biological Role of Pain and Pleasure". Internet infidels. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- Draper, Paul (June 1989). "Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists". Noûs 23 (3): 331–350. doi:10.2307/2215486. JSTOR 2215486.
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