•  379
    Is God an abstract object?
    Noûs 24 (4): 581-598. 1990.
    Before Duns Scotus, most philosophers agreed that God is identical with His necessary intrinsic attributes--omnipotence, omniscience, etc. This Identity Thesis was a component of widely held doctrines of divine simplicity, which stated that God exemplifies no metaphysical distinctions, including that between subject and attribute. The Identity Thesis seems to render God an attribute, an abstract object. This paper shows that the Identity Thesis follows from a basic theistic belief and does not r…Read more
  •  321
    Replies to Oppy, Bohn and Forrest
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (3): 39--63. 2014.
  •  261
    A Leibnizian cosmological argument
    Philosophical Studies 57 (2). 1989.
    I explicate and defend leibniz's argument from "eternal truths" to the existence of god. I argue that necessary beings can be caused to exist, Showing how one can apply a counterfactual analysis to such causation, Then argue that if such beings can be caused to exist, They are
  •  259
    Why perfect being theology?
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (2): 103-118. 2011.
    I display the historical roots of perfect being theology in Greco-Roman philosophy, and the distinctive reasons for Christians to take up a version of this project. I also rebut a recent argument that perfect-being reasoning should lead one to atheism
  •  243
    A modal cosmological argument
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 24 (3). 1988.
  •  240
    Anselm's neglected argument
    Philosophy 77 (3): 331-347. 2002.
    Anselm is commonly credited with two a priori arguments for God's existence, the non-modal argument of Proslogion 2 and a modal argument some find in Proslogion 3. But his Reply to Gaunilo contains a third. The argument as Anselm gives it has flaws, but they are not fatal, and its main premise can serve as the basis of a simpler, stronger argument.
  •  199
    Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, Questions on God (edited book)
    with Brian Davies
    Cambridge University Press. 2006.
    Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest of the medieval philosophers. His Summa Theologiae is his most important contribution to Christian theology, and one of the main sources for his philosophy. This volume offers most of the Summa's first 26 questions, including all of those on the existence and nature of God. Based on the 1960 Blackfriars translation, this version has been extensively revised by Brian Davies and also includes an introduction by Brian Leftow which places the questions in their…Read more
  •  187
    Divine Simplicity
    Faith and Philosophy 23 (4): 365-380. 2006.
    Augustine, Aquinas and many other medievals held the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS) -that God has no parts of any sort. Augustine took this to imply that for any non-relational attribute F, if God is F, God = Fness. This can seem to create three problems. I set them out. Having done so, I show that Augustine's DDS is set within a view of attributes now unfamiliar to us. When we bring this into the picture, it turns out that two of the problems do not really arise and the third is not reall…Read more
  •  185
    Swinburne on divine necessity
    Religious Studies 46 (2): 141-162. 2010.
    Most analytic philosophers hold that if God exists, He exists with broad logical necessity. Richard Swinburne denies the distinction between narrow and broad logical necessity, and argues that if God exists, His existence is narrow-logically contingent. A defender of divine broad logical necessity could grant the latter claim. I argue, however, that not only is God's existence broad-logically necessary, but on a certain understanding of God's relation to modality, it comes out narrow-logically n…Read more
  •  156
    Impossible worlds
    Religious Studies 42 (4): 393-402. 2006.
    Richard Brian Davis offers several criticisms of a semantics I once proposed for subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents. I reply to these
  •  147
    Anselmian Presentism
    Faith and Philosophy 26 (3): 297-319. 2009.
    I rebut four claims made in a recent article by Katherin Rogers. En route I discuss how a timeless God might perceive all of “tensed” time at once
  •  138
    A Latin Trinity
    Faith and Philosophy 21 (3): 304-333. 2004.
    Latin models of the Trinity begin from the existence of one God, and try to explain how one God can be three Persons. I offer an account of this based on an analogy with time-travel. A time-traveler returning to the same point in time repeatedly might have three successive events in his/her life occurring at that one location in public time. So too, God’s life might be such that three distinct parts of His life are always occurring at once, though without any succession between them, and this mi…Read more
  •  134
    The ontological argument
    In William J. Wainwright (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion, Oxford University Press. 2005.
    This chapter presents and critically discusses the main historical variants of the “ontological argument,” a form of a priori argument for the existence of God pioneered by Anselm of Canterbury. I assess the contributions of Anselm, Descartes, Leibniz, and Gödel, and criticisms by Gaunilo, Kant, and Oppy among others.
  •  124
    Anselmian polytheism
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 23 (2). 1988.
  •  124
    On God and Necessity
    Faith and Philosophy 31 (4): 435-459. 2014.
    My God and Necessity offers a theist a theory of modal truth. Two recent articles criticize the theory’s motivation and main features. I reply to these criticisms.
  •  122
    God and Necessity
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Modal basics -- Some solutions -- Theist solutions -- The ontology of possibility -- Modal truthmakers -- Modality and the divine nature -- Deity as essential -- Against deity theories -- The role of deity -- The biggest bang -- Divine concepts -- Concepts, syntax, and actualism -- Modality: basic notions -- The genesis of secular modality -- Modal reality -- Essences -- Non-secular modalities -- Theism and modal semantics -- Freedom, preference, and cost -- Explaining modal status -- Explaining…Read more
  •  121
    A naturalist cosmological argument
    Religious Studies 53 (3): 321-338. 2017.
  •  114
    On a principle of sufficient reason
    Religious Studies 39 (3): 269-286. 2003.
    In The Metaphysics of Creation and The Metaphysics of Theism, Norman Kretzmann defends an argument for God's existence which he claims to find in Aquinas. I assess this argument's key premise, a principle of sufficient reason, that: ‘PSR2: Every existing thing has a reason for its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in the causal efficacy of some other beings’. PSR2 requires God's nature to explain His existence. Kretzmann does not tell us how this explanation is supposed to g…Read more
  •  110
    Divine Simplicity and Divine Freedom
    Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 89 45-56. 2015.
    I explain the doctrine of divine simplicity, and reject what is now the standard way to explicate it in analytic philosophy. I show that divine simplicity imperils the claim that God is free, and argue against a popular proposal for dealing with the problem.
  •  108
    One Step Toward God
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 68 67-103. 2011.
    I describe a new argument for the existence of God, and argue one of its steps. En route I criticize class-nominalist theories of attributes, and sketch an alternate theory involving God
  •  106
    The Nature of Necessity
    Res Philosophica 94 (3): 359-383. 2017.
    I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
  •  105
    Aquinas on Time and Eternity
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 64 (3): 387-399. 1990.
  •  104
    God’s Deontic Perfection
    Res Philosophica 90 (1): 69-95. 2013.
    I offer part of an account of divine moral perfection. I defend the claim that moral perfection is possible, then argue that God has obligations, so that one part of his moral perfection must be perfection in meeting these. I take up objections to divine obligations, then finally offer a definition of divine deontic perfection
  •  103
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  101
    God and Abstract Entities
    Faith and Philosophy 7 (2): 193-217. 1990.
  •  100
    No best world: moral luck
    Religious Studies 41 (2): 165-181. 2005.
    William Rowe and others argue that if ours is a possible world than which there is a better, it follows that God does not exist. If this is correct, then if there is no best possible world, it is not so much as possible that God exist. I reject the key premise of Rowe's argument. The key to seeing that it is false, I suggest, is seeing that God is subject to something fairly called moral luck. In this first part of the article, I set up Rowe's argument, indicate my strategy, introduce the notion…Read more
  •  100
    Perfection and Possibility
    Faith and Philosophy 32 (4): 423-431. 2015.
  •  97
    Aquinas on Attributes
    Medieval Philosophy and Theology 11 (1): 1-41. 2003.
  •  89
    Whither philosophy of religion?
    with Pamela Sue Anderson and J. L. Schellenberg
    Religious Studies 51 (3): 441-454. 2015.
    The post-war expansion of university faculties climaxed in the early 1970s. Since then, there have been more professional philosophers than ever before in history: a startling claim, but sober truth. In analytic philosophy, they have worked with more rigour and better training than even the Scholastics. It would take a surprising lack of talent among us, or perhaps argue some deep defect in the questions we ask, if the result werenotmore progress in philosophy than most periods can boast. And in…Read more