1. One of the entailments of the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS) is that God is identical to: God's omniscience, God's omnipotence, and in general God's X-ness, where 'X' ranges over the divine attributes. And it is easy to see that if God = God's F-ness, and God = God's G-ness, then (by transitivity of identity) God's F-ness = God's G-ness. I suggest that we use 'divine attribute' to refer to those properties of God that are both essential and intrinsic. The problem, of course, is to make sense of these identities given the fact that, prima facie, they do not make sense. The pattern is the same as with Trinity and Incarnation. These doctrines imply identities which, on the face of it, beggar understanding. It thus falls to the philosopher of religion to try to render coherent that which, on the face of it, is incoherent.
2. One of the questions that arise when we try to make sense of DDS concerns which category of entity such phrases as 'God's omniscience' pick out. One possibility is that such phrases pick out properties, whether universal (multiply exemplifiable) properties or particular (not multiply exemplifiable) properties, also known as tropes. But this leads to trouble as Brower points out. For if God is identical either to omniscience or to his omniscience, then God is identical to a property -- which sounds absurd: how can God, a person, be a property? Properties are predicable entities, but God is an individual and so not predicable. Properties are exemplifiable entities (whether multiply or non-multiply); but God is an individual and so not exemplifiable. Properties are abstract (causally inert) whereas God is concrete (causally active/passive). No property is a person, but God is a person. No property creates or knows or loves. These are some hastily sketched reasons for thinking that God cannot be identical to his properties.
3. Jeffrey E. Brower forwards an interesting proposal. He suggests that such phrases as 'God's nature,' 'God's goodness' and 'God's power' refer to "entities of a broadly functional type -- namely, truthmakers." (Simplicity and Aseity, sec. 2) The idea is that 'God's omniscience' refers to the trruthmaker of 'God is omniscient' or perhaps to the truthmaker of the proposition expressed by 'God is omniscient.' If (Fregean) propositions are the primary truthbearers, then (tokenings of) declarative sentences that express such propositions can be said to be secondary truthbearers. I trust that it is clear that truthbearers and truthmakers are not to be confused. One key difference is that while some truthbearers are are false, no truthmaker is false. Truth and falsity are properties of certain representations (propositions, declarative sentences, beliefs, judgments, etc.) whereas truthmakers are the ontological grounds of some true truthbearers. If I understand Brower's view, it is not only that truthmakers are neither true nor false -- every TM theorist will hold this -- but also that truthmakers are not at all proposition-like. By contrast, I follow D. M. Arstrong in holding that truthmakers must have a proposition-like structure. But more on this in a moment.
4. Roughly, a truthmaker is whatever plays a certain role or performs a certain function; it is whatever makes true a true truthbearer. The 'truthmaker intuition' -- which I share with Brower -- is that a sentence such as 'Tom is blogging' cannot just be true; there is need of some worldly entity to 'make' it true, to serve as the ontological ground of its truth, to 'verify' it in an ontological, not epistemological, sense of this term. To say that some or all truthbearers need truthmakers is not yet to specify which sort of entity plays the truthmaker role. Among philosophers who accept the need for truthmakers there is disagreement about the ontological category to which they belong.
Brower says rather incautiously that the functional characterization of truthmakers "places no restriction on the specific nature or ontological category to which a truthmaker can belong." (sec 2.1) That can't be right. Surely there are some restrictions. For one thing, a truthmaker cannot be a Fregean proposition for the simple reason that such items are among the items made true by truthmakers. And the same goes for declarative sentences, beliefs, and judgments. My belief that the cat is asleep is either true or false and as such is a truthbearer. It is in need of a truthmaker but is not itself one. Of course, the fact of my believing that the cat is asleep can serve as truthmaker for the sentence ' BV now believes that the cat is asleep' if concrete facts are admitted as truthmakers -- but that is something else again. So not just anything can be a truthmaker. Charitably interpreted, what Brower is telling us is that TM theorists are allowed some ontological latitude when it comes to specifying which category of entity is fit to play the truthmaker role.
5. Let us note that if a true Fregean proposition p entails a Fregean proposition q, then one could say that the first 'makes true' the second. And so one could speak of the first as a 'truthmaker' of the second. But this is not what is meant by 'truthmaking' in these discussions despite the fact that p broadly logically necessitates q. What is intended is a relation of broadly logical necessitation that connects a nonpropositional entity (but on some theories a proposition-like entity) to a propositional entity, or more precisely, to an entity that can serves as the bearer or vehicle of a truth-value. As I see it, the entailment relation and the truthmaking relation are species of broadly logical necessitation; but truthmaking is not entailment. Entailment will never get you 'outside the circle of propositions'; but that is exactly what truthmaking is supposed to do. A truthmaker is an ontological, not propositional or representational truth-ground. Philosophers who are attracted to truthmakers typically have a realist sense that certain of our representations need to be anchored in reality.
Brower sees it a little differently. He would agree with me that entailment and truthmaking cannot be identical, but he thinks of it as "a form of broadly logical necessitation or entailment" and says that entailment is necessary but not sufficient for truthmaking. (Sec. 2.1) So Brower seems to be maintaining that while there is more to truthmaking than entailment, every truthmaker entails the truth it makes true. But this makes little or no sense. Entailment is a relation defined on propositions. If x entails y, then you can be sure that x and y are propositions or at least proposition-like entities, whether these be sentences or judgments or beliefs or even concrete states of affairs such as the fact of (not the fact that) Peter's being tired, which concrete fact contains Peter himself as constituent, warts and all. But for Brower, as we will see in a moment, concrete individuals such as Socrates, entities that are neither propositions nor proposition-like, can serve as truthmakers. As far as I can see, it makes no sense to say that Socrates entails a proposition. It makes no sense because entailment is defined in terms of truth, and no individual can be true or false. To say that p entails q is to say that it is impossible that p be true and q false. Since it makes no sense to say of an individual that it is true, it makes no sense to say of an individual that it entails a proposition. So truthmaking cannot be a type or species of entailment if individuals are truthmakers.
6. But setting aside for the moment the above worry, if it makes sense to say that God is the truthmaker of 'God is omniscient,' and if 'God's omniscience' refers to this truthmaker, then it will be clear how God can be identical to God's omniscience. For then 'God is identical to his omniscience' is no more problematic than 'God is God.' It will also be clear how God's omniscience can be identical to God's omnipotence.
7. But can it really be this easy to show that DDS is coherent? Although I agree with Brower that some truthbearers need truthmakers, I don't see how truthmakers could be ontologically structureless individuals or 'blobs' as opposed to 'layer-cakes' in Armstrong's terminology. By 'ontologically structureless' I mean lacking in propositional or proposition-like structure. Consider the following true intrinsic essential predicative sentences: 'Socrates is human,' 'Socrates is an animal,' Socrates is a material object,' 'Socrates exists,' and 'Socrates is self-identical.' (It is not obvious that 'Socrates exists' is an essential predication inasmuch as Socrates exists contingently, but let's not enter into this thorny thicket just now.)
Brower's claim is that in each of these cases (which parallel the true intrinsic essential predications of divine attributes) the truthmaker is the concrete individual Socrates himself. Thus Socrates is the truthmaker of 'Socrates is human' just as God is the truthmaker of 'God is omniscient.' Unfortunately, no individual lacking propositional or proposition-like structure can serve as a truthmaker as I argued in #5 above. Just as it makes no sense to say that Socrates is true, it makes no sense to say that Socrates entails the proposition expressed by 'Socrates is human.'
There is more to say, but tomorrow's another day. Time to punch the clock.