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Monday, February 24, 2020


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The problem generated by Mann’s solution might be avoided if one were to deny DDS yet maintain that God is Goodness itself. Is there a plausible way to identify God with Goodness but avoid commitment to DDS?

I don't see a way. Do you?

I don’t see a way that is problem-free. One could say that God is – in some sense – Goodness itself, but hold that the “is” isn't a matter of identity. Instead, it refers to essential predication. (I admit that this move doesn't “identify God with Goodness” in the strict sense of ‘identify.’) On this approach, God possesses a nature but isn't identical to it. Rather, the property of goodness is one of God’s essential attributes.

As you know, this move raises questions about God’s aseity and ontological sovereignty. Is goodness a property that is ontologically independent of God?

We haven’t dodged the aporetics of the Absolute. We’ve only traded problems.

To avoid the threat to God’s aseity, one could say that properties (e.g., goodness, wisdom) are useful fictions. We employ them to address something we don’t (maybe can't) understand. There are no objective properties.

But this move raises a new set of problems.

I just thought of a joke:

Two metaphysicians passed each other on the street. What did the first say to the second?

“What is your PROBLEM?”

I honestly don't understand how anyone could reasonably deny that there are properties. That things have properties is a rock-bottom, datanic, starting point, a Moorean fact. My shirt is blue, dry, stinky, . . . The question can't be whether there are properties, but what they are, i.e., what their ontological assay is. Are they universals? Maybe not Particulars (tropes)? Are they constituents of the things that have them? Are they abstract objects. And so on.

If someone said that there are no properties, but only words like 'blue,' 'dry,' etc. I would be tempted to show him the door immediately, while resisting the temptation to plant my boot in his butt. Extreme nominalism is absurd.

"The One is not, and is not one." Thats from Plato's Parmenides, 141e. The One of Platonism is not some supreme Individual, but is instead the negative and supra-essential principle that for something to be, it must be in some sense a whole unit. If it not a positively existing THING, it is non-causal. Since nothing can be above a God, then any God as such must also be supra-essential. Then each Individual would be fully transcendent, identifiable only by Who they are and not by What they are. So then many of the issues posited by divine simplicity get resolved. There are either an unknowable amount of Gods, or there are none.

“That things have properties is … a Moorean fact. The question can't be whether there are properties, but what they are, i.e., what their ontological assay is.”

I’m inclined to agree. There is a wide range of positions on this question. It seems to me that even some of the anti-realist positions (for example, figuralism) hold that the terms we use to refer to properties and other supposed abstracta are metaphors for something that exists, even if properties themselves don’t exist in a literal sense.

W. L. Craig’s God and the Platonic Host and God and Abstract Objects address some of these positions and contain helpful diagrams.



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