The simplicity of divine ideas: theistic conceptual realism and the doctrine of divine simplicity

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

September 2021

Publication Title

Religious Studies


There has been little discussion of the compatibility of Theistic Conceptual Realism (TCR) with the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS). On the one hand, if a plurality of universals is necessary to explain the character of particular things, there is reason to think this commits the proponent of TCR to the existence of a plurality of divine concepts. So the proponent of the DDS has a prima facie reason to reject TCR (and vice versa). On the other hand, many mediaeval philosophers accept both the existence of divine ideas and the DDS. In this article I draw on mediaeval and contemporary accounts of properties and divine simplicity to argue that the two theories are not logically incompatible.