"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sketches on Divine Simplicity

The Anglican Scotist has issued Part I of an extended philosophical consideration on the doctrine of absolute divine simplicity ('ADS' for short, or sometimes simply 'AS'; I prefer the former because I like to refer to the Anglican Scotist as 'AS'!). ADS was a central topic in scholastic natural theology and has become so in analytical philosophy of religion. It stands at the heart of the differences between Catholic, Orthodox, and even Protesant theologians on the question what constitutes divinity. And it isn't at all popular today.

Since, however, it is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church, I do not feel in the least free to deny it. The difficulty is stating it clearly enough to avoid consequences that are either heretical, philosophically untenable, or both. With that in mind, I have clashed with Orthodox philosopher Perry Robinson on the ADS issue before. I agree with him about the doctrine's importance, but not about its precise meaning and purport. The Anglican Scotist addresses essentially the same concern on which Robinson and I have focused. For the philosophically inclined among you, his post is well worth a read. Tomorrow I shall reply in detail here to Part I.
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