Alexander Pruss on Analogy and Divine Simplicity

I’ve been slowly working my way through some papers by Georgetown philosopher Alexander Pruss. The one which caught my attention most recently is called “On Three Problems of Divine Simplicity”. The doctrine of divine simplicity, which was enormously important throughout the medieval period has come in for several severe critiques by analytic philosophers of religion like Alvin Plantinga. At any rate, Pruss calls attention to three of the most serious of the problems for the doctrine of simplicity and then attempts to show inadequacies in each putative objection.

The first such problem comes from attempting to show the identity of God’s mercy and his justice, for if God is simple, then mercy and justice cannot be separate things in him, although to our observation mercy and justice are contradictories. Pruss resolves the problem by appealing to the doctrine of analogy. Pruss’s examples here are very nice . . . I commend his paper highly to anyone who would like to see the doctrine of analogy put to good use in contemporary philosophy of religion.

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