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Sunday, February 28, 2010


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it's probably not worth mentioning the ad hoc assumption of Dawkins that God must (according to the dictates of zoology, apparently!?) be a very complex, evolved sort of thing?? :)

Dear Sir,

I know this is probably not terribly helpful, but I found the article, clear, cogent and not really requiring any revision. After all, since 2006 I greatly doubt whether God's Simplicity has changed greatly. What explained it well three years ago, suffices, it would seem, to explain it now. But thank you for link to the article which was a wonderful and fascinating read.



For better or worse, I would mention Dawkins' objection for the simple fact that its popular.

Here's some recent material that I hope will be helpful.

Bergmann, M., & Brower, J. (2006). A Theistic Argument against Platonism (and in Support of Truthmakers and Divine Simplicity). Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 2 Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Brower, J. (2008). “Simplicity and Aseity.” In The Oxford Handbook to Philosophical Theology, eds. Michael Rea and Thomas Flint, 105-228. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brower, J. (2008). Making Sense of Divine Simplicity. Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers, 25(1), 3-30.

Franks, C. (2005). The Simplicity of the Living God: Aquinas, Barth, and Some Philosophers. Modern Theology, 21(2), 275-300.

Leftow, B. (2006). Divine Simplicity. Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers, 23(4), 365-380.

Nash-Marshall, S. (2007). Properties, Conflation, and Attribution: The 'Monologion' and Divine Simplicity. The Saint Anselm Journal (Journal of The Institute for Saint Anselm Studies, Saint Anselm College), 4(2), 1-18.

Saeedimehr, M. (2007). Divine Simplicity. Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy, 26(2), 191-199.

West, J. (2007). The Real Distinction between Supposit and Nature. Wisdom's Apprentice: Thomistic Essays in Honor of Lawrence Dewan, O.P Washington DC: Cath Univ Amer Pr.

Another recent (and relatively brief) defense of the doctrine:

Brian Davies, "Simplicity," in C. Taliaferro and C. Meister, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology (CUP, 2010), 31-45.

Dear Bill,
I wrote a paper on divine simplicity, it's a discussion of Brower. I think his use of the truthmaker theory depend on a misunderstanding of the necessitation and the minimality. But the article is in French !


That's very helpful, thanks. I am aware of the Brower articles, but some of the others I was not aware of.

James Anderson,

Thanks! That will go into the bibliography whether or not I can scare up the book.


I have a strong independent interest in truthmaker theory and I can't see that Brower's approach works. I will probably insert a brief discussion and critique of his approach in my revised entry.
Thanks for the reference to your paper. Could I persuade you to translate it into English? I would like to study it, but my French is not up to the task.

Messrs. Campbell and Tubach,

You two may be confusing the question of God's ontological simplicity as explained in my entry with the question of the explanatory simplicity of theism. On the latter question, compare ch. 3 of Swinburne's Is There a God? with Dawkin's Boeing 747 example.


Thank you for your kind words. But surely we must distinguish between God and theology just as we distinguish between nature and physics. If God was simple in 2006, then he is simple now. But if Professor Brower and Co. have come up with the best explanation of how God can be understood to be simple, then that is a change that needs to be addressed in my revised entry.

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