The One has the Many

International Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2):161-187 (2022)
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In an earlier paper, Mark Spencer synthesized three understandings of divine simplicity, arguing that the Thomist account can be enriched by Scotist and Palamite distinctions. After summarizing that earlier work, this paper builds upon it in four main ways. Firstly, it relates Scotus’ logical (diminished) univocity to Aquinas’ metaphysical analogy in language about God. Secondly, it explores the limits of univocity and the formal distinction as applied to the divine essence (in the Palamite sense), utilising the scientific metaphor of tomography. Thirdly, it defends Palamite energies from the charge of being Thomistic accidents by introducing the concept of “intrinsic ramification” and applying that concept to the Thomistic divine ideas. Fourthly, it tabulates some significant pre-existing parallels between the three systems’ nomenclature in referring to similar aspects of the divine.



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Author Profiles

Matthew Kirby
Biola University
Mark K. Spencer
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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