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Res Philosophica

Volume 98, Issue 2, April 2021

Special Issue: Islamic Philosophy and Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

Joshua Lee Harris
Pages 205-231

Ontological Pluralism and Divine Naming
Insights from Avicenna

In this article, I defend a version of ontological pluralism, specifically with an eye toward laying metaphysical groundwork for an account of divine naming inspired by Avicenna. I try to show (1) that Avicenna’s pluralism is well-motivated as a metaphysical thesis and (2) that it offers substantive philosophical support for a correlatively pluralist approach to divine naming. My argument proceeds by identifying two influential objections to ontological pluralism, and then offering replies to these objections with the help of Avicenna. The first objection pertains to pluralism as a position in general metaphysics, whereas the second pertains to pluralism as a position in theological epistemology or divine naming. To the extent that these replies are successful, I argue that Avicennian pluralism is compelling on both counts as a philosophical position.

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