Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation





First Advisor

Christopher Tollefsen


In recent years more and more theist philosophers have turned their attention to an apparent tension between the existence of abstract universals and the God of classical monotheisms. In this project I argue that this tension can be relieved by adopting a Neo-Augustinian account of universals. When the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is given sufficient place within one’s theory, divine concepts can do all of the work for which abstract universals are usually posited. Over the course of 5 chapters, I argue that the problem of universals, at base, requires a theory of properties as its solution; that my theory of universals is well grounded within the medieval tradition; that divine concepts can account for property exemplification, attribute agreement, abstract reference, and subject-predicate discourse; and that a solution to the notorious “bootstrapping problem” is available if one accepts the doctrine of divine simplicity. I conclude with some remarks on the epistemic theories that one might adopt if one is inclined to accept my account of universals

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Philosophy Commons