Religious Studies 36 (1):25-33 (2000)

John Hick uses a distinction between the formal and the substantial properties of the Real an sich, the noumenal God. Hick claims that substantial properties, such as 'being good' or 'being personal', cannot be ascribed to the Real an sich. On the other hand, according to Hick, formal properties -- such as 'being such that none of our concepts apply' -- can be predicated of the Real an sich. I argue, first of all, that many of the properties Hick ascribes to the Real an sich are hard to interpret as anything but substantial, unless we adopt a highly arbitrary substantial/formal distinction. Secondly, I argue that it is never possible to ascribe only formal properties to the Real an sich, since the correct framing and application of formal properties involves a prior knowledge of some substantial properties. I show that the predication of formal properties involves having more knowledge than we need for the application of substantial properties. I conclude that Hick's practice is better than his theory, and that by dispensing with the formal/substantial distinction, he would enable his doctrine of God to stand on more respectable and theological grounds
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0034412599005041
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,564
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Response to John Hick.George I. Mavrodes - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (3):289-294.
Response to Hick.William P. Alston - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (3):287-288.
Could God Have More Than One Nature?Robert Mckim - 1988 - Faith and Philosophy 5 (4):378-398.
John Hick’s Soul-Making Theodicy and the Virtue of Love.Eric Silverman - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:329-343.
[Hick, Necessary Being, and the Cosmological Argument] Comment.John H. Hick - 1972 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 1 (4):485 - 487.
The Many Gods of Hick and Mavrodes.William Hasker - 2011 - In Kelly James Clark & Raymond J. VanArragon (eds.), Evidence and Religious Belief. Oxford University Press.
Religious Pluralism.William L. Rowe - 1999 - Religious Studies 35 (2):139-150.


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #412,798 of 2,533,570 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #57,618 of 2,533,570 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes