Divine simplicity (4) Simplicity’s negative predicates

So if Scholasticism’s account of simplicity is a type (3) predication of positive predicates not said relative to creatures, how can we bring this together with the fact that the first sense of simplicity is the negation of composition?

Composition is from parts, and while simplicity denies many senses of “part” it doesn’t deny every possible sense of the term.  For example, properties are “parts” and predicates are properties, but God has many predicates. The composition we deny of God is any manner that makes a being imperfect, meaning that complete perfection would require absence of composition.

Both the Aristotelian and Platonic strands of ancient thought argued that spacial and temporal parts made for an imperfect being. For Aristotle, time was peculiar to motion and motion was imperfect act, and anything with spacial parts was somehow mobile; and in the Platonic tradition all reality given to sensation participated in a separate good. Plotinus would sharpen up this insight by noticing that temporal being was peculiarly that which could not possess all its perfections.

Because of this, we get a class of type (3) predication that requires an absence of parts. Divine spirituality (immateriality) or immutability deny spacial and temporal parts and are both type (3) predicates since it’s in virtue of divine spirituality that all other spirits or material things exist and in virtue of the divine transcendence of time that all other things either transcend time or are within it.


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