Back to overview Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Ruch Filozoficzny
Publisher Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika/Nicolaus Copernicus University
Volume (Issue) 74(4)
Page(s) 33 - 50
Title of proceedings Ruch Filozoficzny
DOI 10.12775/rf.2018.035

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The problem of divine attributes was one of the most intensely debated topics in the 17-18th century Irish philosophy. Simply put, the problem revolves around the ontological question (i) whether human and divine attributes differ in degree or in kind, and the semantical (ii) how we ought to describe these divine attributes by means of our human language. While there was a consensus that analogies play a key role in solving the semantical problem there was a controversy about the kind of speech they allow for. Especially, it was contested if using analogies for divine predication allows for a separate kind of speech, i.e. allows us to speak neither literally nor metaphorically but analogically. The aim of my paper is to contextualize George Berkeley’s position on the problem of divine attributes as developed in § 21 of the IV. Dialogue in Alciphron. More specifically and contrary to what most scholars hold, I argue Berkeley fails to follow Cardinal Cajetan with remarkable closeness. Despite paraphrasing parts of Cajetan’s De Nominum Analogia in § 21, the solution Berkeley advances is closer to the position of John Duns Scotus – and hence, ironically, with the position Cajetan aimed to reject.