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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 41, Issue Supplement, 2016

Selected Papers in Honor of William P. Alston

Daniel Howard-Snyder
Pages 17-32

Two Peas in a Single Polytheistic Pod
John Hick and Richard Swinburne

A descriptive polytheist thinks there are at least two gods. John Hick and Richard Swinburne are descriptive polytheists. In this respect, they are like Thomas Aquinas and many other theists. What sets Swinburne and Hick apart from Aquinas, however, is that unlike him they are normative polytheists. That is, Swinburne and Hick think that it is right that we, or at least some of us, worship more than one god. However, the evidence available to me shows that only Swinburne, and not Hick, is a cultic polytheist: he actually worships more than one god. I conclude that only Swinburne is a polytheist par excellence.

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