Skip to main content Accessibility help

Is theism a simple hypothesis? The simplicity of omni-properties



One reason for thinking that theism is a relatively simple theory – and that it is thereby more likely to be true than other theories, ceteris paribus – is to insist that infinite degrees of properties are simpler than extremely large, finite degrees of properties. This defence of theism has been championed by Richard Swinburne in recent years. I outline the objections to this line of argument present in the literature, and suggest some novel resources open to Swinburne in defence. I then argue that scientists' preference for universal nomological propositions constitutes a very strong reason for supposing that theism is simpler than parodical alternatives in virtue of its positing omni-properties rather than parallel ‘mega-properties’.



Hide All
Bradley, M. C. (2002) ‘The fine-tuning argument: the Bayesian version’, Religious Studies, 38, 375404.
Bradley, M. C. (2007) ‘Hume's chief objection to natural theology’, Religious Studies, 43, 249270.
Cahn, S. M. (1977) ‘Cacodaemony’, Analysis, 37, 6973.
Dilley, F. B. (2000) ‘A finite god reconsidered’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 47, 2941.
Fawkes, D. & Smythe, T. (1996) ‘Simplicity and theology’, Religious Studies, 32, 259270.
Gellman, J. (2000) ‘Prospects for a sound stage 3 of cosmological arguments’, Religious Studies, 36, 195201.
Grünbaum, A. (2000) ‘A new critique of theological interpretations of physical cosmology’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 51, 143.
Gwiazda, J. (2009a) ‘Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, and Principle P’, Sophia, 48, 393398.
Gwiazda, J. (2009b) ‘Richard Swinburne's argument to the simplicity of God via the infinite’, Religious Studies, 45, 487493.
Hume, D. (1779) Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.
Law, S. (2010) ‘The evil-god challenge’, Religious Studies, 46, 353373.
Madden, E. H. & Hare, P. H. (1968) Evil and the Concept of God (Springfield IL: C. Thomas).
McGrew, T. (2014) ‘The argument from silence’, Acta Analytica, 29, 215228.
New, C. (1993) ‘Antitheism: a reflection’, Ratio, 6, 3643.
Oppy, G. (2006) Arguing about Gods (New York: Cambridge University Press).
Philipse, H. (2012) God in the Age of Science: A Critique of Religious Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Pruss, A. R. (2009) ‘The Leibnizian cosmological argument’, in Craig, W. L. & Moreland, J. P. (eds) The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Oxford: Blackwell), 24100.
Smith, Q. (1998) ‘Review article: Swinburne's explanation of the universe’, Religious Studies, 34, 91102.
Stein, E. (1990) ‘God, the demon, and the status of theodicies’, American Philosophical Quarterly, 27, 163167.
Swinburne, R. (2001) Epistemic Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Swinburne, R. (2004) The Existence of God, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Swinburne, R. (2010) ‘God as the simplest explanation of the universe’, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2, 124.
Weizsäcker, C. F. von (1964) The Relevance of Science (New York: Harper & Row).
Wynn, M. (1993) ‘Some reflections on Richard Swinburne's argument from design’, Religious Studies, 29, 325335.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Is theism a simple hypothesis? The simplicity of omni-properties



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.