Divine simplicity is a traditional attribute of God, and refers to God's lack of parts. Often it has been interpreted very strongly, to indicate a complete lack of properties or other ontological constituents on God's part. Partially for this reason, the doctrine of divine simplicity has come under much criticism for being incoherent, impossible, or in some way impious (perhaps by compromising God’s freedom). Nonetheless, the doctrine has enjoyed widespread support historically among all the Abrahamic religions, and has been closely connected to ideas about God's aseity, transcendence, necessity, immutability, and other attributes.
Wolterstorff 1991 gives an accessible examination of metaphysical assumptions needed to make sense of the doctrine. Stump & Kretzmann 1985 defend it from the charge that it compromises God’s freedom. Leftow 1990 gives an argument for divine simplicity while defending it against Plantinga’s claim that it leaves God an abstract object. Other defenses of divine simplicity include Rogers 1996 (who focuses on the idea that God is pure act) and Pruss 2008 (who is one of several to develop a truthmaker account of divine predication and use it to solve various difficulties). Medieval work has deeply informed contemporary work on the subject; readers who want more detailed exploration of medieval thinkers on God’s simplicity can consult Hughes 1989, who analyzes and critiques Thomas Aquinas’ arguments for divine simplicity, and Adams 1987, who discusses William of Ockham’s understanding of the doctrine and arguments for it. Although most contemporary work on divine simplicity is conversant with medieval sources, relatively little work has been done on the doctrine’s late antique development; an exception is Cohoe 2017, who interprets and defends Plotinus’ important pro-simplicity argument. There has also been little work developing alternatives to divine simplicity that attempt to preserve God’s aseity, but Fowler 2015 argues that God could have parts and yet be more fundamental than those parts.
|Introductions||Brower 2008, Vallicella 2019, Weigel 2019|
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