Friday, October 31, 2008

Another version of divine simplicity

as I promised in the comments on rock*'s last post, here are some of my
notes on divine simplicity. If I remember correctly Aquinas seemed to
hold something like the following views:

1. God has no proper parts
2. God has exactly one divine attribute
3. Amongst God's attributes are his omniscience, omnipotence and

4. God is identical to his one divine attribute.

From (2)-(4) it follows that

5. God = God's omniscience = God's omnipotence = God's omnnibenevolence.

Now, you might think that there is a complex God property that is
built up out
of omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence.
God's omniscience,
omnipotence and omnibenevolence would then
just be identical to this complex God
property. However, this seems
to be ruled out by (1) and (4) above. This is
because if the God
property were built out of omni-p, omni-s and omni-b, then it
have parts. But that claim, along with (4) entails that God has parts.

But, (1) says he does not.

Here is a solution. In my paper "A tale of two simples" I talk about a
distributional properties explanation of the following seeming

(*) Possibly, there is an extended, heterogeneous atomic object that
occupies a
region with no proper subregions.

trypically a person who believes in extended heterogeneous simples
will connect
property exemplification to regions in some way. So, for
example, if the person
believes that possibly there is a striped red and
purple atomic object, then he
will say that that object has red-at-R and
Purple-at-R*. But, this will not
help to explain (*) since the atomic object
in (*) occupies a region with no
proper sub-regions.

According to the distributional properties approach, there are fully
distributional properties that guarantee the seeming
heterogeniety of such a
simple. These are properties like polka-
dottedness but they are not built up
out of "smaller" color properties.
Rather the smaller properties are built
out of disjunctions of these
distributional properties.

One thing that I noticed is that God seems to be heterogeneous in some
he seems to be both omniscient and omnipotent. But, God, is an
atomic object as
well and there is nothing we can index his omniscience
and omnipotence to. This situation looks rather similar to the situation
of a heterogeneous simple that occupies an atomic region of space. So,
here is a view about divine simplicity:

There is one God property that is like a distributional property.
that God property guarantees the seeming distribution
of omnipotence and
omniscience. But, there really aren't these "Smaller"
properties (except
insofar as they are built up out of the disjunctions of
the fully determinate
God property). On this view God's Omniscience and
Omnipotence are just
identical to this distributional property. Moreover,
we could connect this view
to a bundle theory of individuals and get that
this single God Property just is
God himself.


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