Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy

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Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy

In the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius addresses many solutions to the never-ending problem of evil. In Book IV Boethius offers a solution to the problem based on the distinction between “Fate” and “Providence.” Boethius defines both of these terms and explains his own version of the problem and how to solve the problem using the differences between “Fate” and “Providence.” However one may argue against Boethius’s solution and offer a solution themselves. And if this may occur Boethius or somebody who agrees with him would make a counter argument against the proposed solution.

In Book IV of the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius makes a clear difference between the idea of “Fate” and the concept of “Providence.” Boethius does this by examining the power of each. “Providence is the divine reason itself which belongs to the most high ruler of all things and which governs al things; Fate, however belongs to all mutable things and is the disposition by which Providence joins all things in their own order. For Providence embraces all things equally, however diverse they are, however infinite. Fate, on the other hand, sets particular things in motion once they have been given their own forms, places, and times” (Boethius Book IV, Prose 6 p.91).

Boethius uses both of these terms to address a solution to the “problem of evil.” I believe that Boethius symbolizes good and evil with “Fate” and “Providence.” Boethius thinks that the problem of evil is how can evil exist in a world governed by the most powerful good, God. Also how can some evil go unpunished and even take over. This is the problem that Boethius tries to solve. He simply argues that evil doesn’t exist. Boethius d...

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...efore “Fate” is the things in motion and is the evil things and since the moving things fall into a new order it is no longer in motion. It is now seen as “Providence,” the good, and from the Supreme good’s view evil does not exist. Therefore, Boethius would counter the argument made before that evil does exist.

In Book IV of The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius tries to solve the great “problem of evil.” He goes about doing so by using the concepts of “Providence” and “Fate” to argue that evil can not exist in a world controlled by a true Supreme good. However one could argue against Boethius, but he would just come back with another counter argument. In conclusion I think that Boethius’s argument that evil does not exist is a valid one.


Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. Richard Green. New York:

Macnillan. 1962.