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Karma and the problem of suffering

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  1. John Hick,Philosophy of Religion, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1983), Ch. 10. This material first appeared in Chapter 8 of the second edition of the book (1973).

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  2. Max Weber,The Religion of India (New York: The Free Press, 1958), p 121.

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  3. Max Weber,The Sociology of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963), Ch. 9. On this usage compare Gananath Obeyesekere, “Theodicy, Sin and Salvation in a Sociology of Buddhism” in E.R. Leach, ed.,Dialectic in Practical Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968). On the relevance of the hypothesis of rebirth and karma to the latter, narrower sense of “theodicy” see Arthur L. Herman,The Problem of Evil and Indian Thought (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1976).

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  4. The same objection is urged in Hick'sDeath and Eternal Life (London: Collins, 1976), pp 308–309.

  5. David Hume,Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, ed. N. Kemp Smith (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962), pp 190–191.

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  6. Cf. M. O'C. Drury,The Danger of Words (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), p.ix: ‘Do you think theremust be a significance, an explanation? As I see it there are two sorts of people: one man sees a bird sitting on a telegraph wire and says to himself: “Why is that bird sitting just there?”, the other man replies “Damn it all, the bird has to sit somewhere”.’

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  7. For a fuller account of Hick's views on the cosmological argument see hisArguments for the Existence of God (London: Macmillan, 1970), Ch. 3.

  8. Cf. Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty,The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976).

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Perrett, R. Karma and the problem of suffering. SOPH 24, 4–10 (1985).

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  • Contingent Fact
  • Infinite Regress
  • Brute Fact
  • Previous Life
  • Ultimate Explanation