Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An anti-Aristotelian argument for divine simplicity

The doctrine of divine simplicity fits comfortably with Aquinas’s Aristotelian framework. But it is interesting that anti-Aristotelianism also leads to divine simplicity.

  1. The proper parts are more fundamental than the whole. (Mereological anti-Aristotelianism.)

  2. Nothing is more fundamental than God.

  3. So, God has no proper parts.

Of course, as an Aristotelian I reject 1, so while I accept the conclusion of this argument, I can’t use the argument myself.


John DeRosa said...

Dr. Pruss,

What metaphysical commitments do you have that you would classify as Aristotelian?

I'm just curious, since whenever I visit here it seems your thought is developing on so many different issues!

Alexander R Pruss said...

Modality is grounded in causal powers. Causation is grounded in them, too. Substances are rock bottom, but they have accidents and forms. Platonism is false. Teleology is irreducible and central to causation and ethics. Wholes are prior to parts. There is a prime mover. The soul is the form of the body. There are both positive and negative truths. Time is at least probably discrete. Infinite per se (or any other, but that's not Aristotelian) causal histories are impossible. We are not souls. Animals have souls. Substances are not composed of substances. Probably a lot more...

Justin Mooney said...

Have you read Greg Fowler's "Simplicity or Priority?" (Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion vol. 6)? He uses the notion that a whole can be prior to its parts to block the traditional argument for simplicity from divine aseity (I take it your argument here is a variant on that traditional argument).