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Thursday, October 06, 2016

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Bill,

I endorse (a). How am I committed to (b)?

Likewise, in his critique of Hick, Plantinga endorses (a). How does that commit him to (b)?

This is a useful summary of the logical connection between divine simplicity and negative theology. As I understand you, divine simplicity implies non-univocity. And non-univocity implies either Analogicity or Negative Theology. Yes?

I thought this article in the IEP was also useful.

Alvin Plantinga’s critique of simplicity in his Does God Have a Nature (1980) has become a touchstone in the contemporary debates.

One of Plantinga’s major criticisms is that simplicity is incompatible with God appearing to have multiple attributes. According to the doctrine, “[God] doesn’t merely have a nature or essence; he just is that nature, ... [and] each of his properties is identical with each of his properties...so that God has but one property.” But this “seems flatly incompatible with the obvious fact that God has several properties; he has power and mercifulness, say, neither of which is identical with the other” (1980, 46–47).


Something else for me to look at.

To Vlastimil's question about Plantinga, is this not answered by my quote above, i.e. 'One of Plantinga’s major criticisms is that simplicity is incompatible with God appearing to have multiple attributes'?

V,

Are you referring to (a) or (A)?

If the former, you are just not getting it. The point of that section was to explain what it means to say that God is a being among beings.

>> As I understand you, divine simplicity implies non-univocity. And non-univocity implies either Analogicity or Negative Theology. Yes?<<

That's exactly what I am saying.

If God is simple, then "he is what he has" as St Augustine puts it. For example, he is wisdom as opposed to instantiating it. But then 'wise' cannot have the same sense in application to God and in application to Socrates.

Do you follow that?

What the author of the IEP article says is correct.

For Plantinga, God is necessarily unique: necessarily one of a kind. He is the one and only possible instance of the divine attributes.

But I follow Aquinas and go a step further: God is unique in a 'supereminent' sense: he is such that in him there can be no distinction between instance of a kind and kind, instance of a nature and a nature.

Next stop: a doctrine of analogical predication (on the semantic plane) together with analogia entis on the ontological plane, OR the via negativa (Pseudo-Dionysus, et al.)

This is quite helpful for my book. It seemed to me there must be a connection between negative theology and classical theism. If you hold that divine simplicity is the crucial tenet of classical theism, as some do, then you have to choose between some form of analogy or negativism. So I look forward to your next post (which I assume you meant by ‘next stop’?).

As I am understanding Kant (Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason) he holds an extreme version of negative theology. There is some sort of ‘space for faith’, but not much that I can see, for he wholly rejects ideas like miracles, except in some passages which are clearly ironic, divine intervention. Also the specialness of Christianity, given the ‘ought implies can’ principle.

Bill,

I am referring to (a), not (A).

I get (a), (b), etc. are parts of what you mean by the locution 'God is a being among other beings'.

But I've had the impression that you believe one can't hold to (a) without holding to the rest. Which I doubt.

When I hear Hick, or someone like him, saying that God is beyond concepts or not a being among other beings, I take him to oppose (a). Maybe some other things, too, but (a) at least. And when I hear Plantinga's refutation of Hick, I take Plantinga to defend (a). I don't take him to take a stance on the issue of divine simplicity. That happens elsewhere in Plantinga, not in that part of his refutation of Hick that you quote and try to undermine in your previous post.

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