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« Feser chapter 2 | Main | Does objectivity matter? »

August 06, 2010


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It does seem that the Omelas story is a direct response to the theologian's notion that suffering is necessary for this 'best of all possible worlds'. I think it is absurd to posit that the kind of undeserved suffering in the real world is made up by the noble things people do to end that suffering. There's just more suffering than nobility. In fact there's more suffering than we can do anything about, and much suffering which we never even *know* about. How does that make humanity any better?

What makes the story more pointed is that instead of world-wide suffering as in the real world (which people seem very able to ignore because it becomes a mere statistic) the suffering is down to one innocent person.

Any system which depends on undeserved suffering for its 'greatness' is one which truly moral people would abandon. Those that leave at least are sacrificing the goods of that world since the price is too high, and any existence is better than one based on such injustice. That theologians are forced to confess that their gods are responsible for such injustices (even if they argue it's for the 'greater good') makes them seem like battered spouses making apologies for their abusive partners.

Though it would make a good movie script to have some of the citizens of Omelas try to free the suffering child...

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