We now turn to Richard’s De Trinitate Book 3, Chapters 14-19
Here’s my formulation of the first part of ch.14:
Suppose there’s at least one divine person: P.
Then (1) P is so benevolent that he wants to have no good that he does not want to share.
And (2) P is so powerful that everything is possible for him.
And (3) P is so happy that nothing is difficult for him.
And (4) if (1)-(3) are true, there are at least three divine persons.
Therefore, (C) If there is at least one divine person, then there are at least three divine persons.
Re 1: I think this means that for every good that P has, he wants to share that good with another, at least if this is so much as possible. But this isn’t exactly what Richard says. If you want to have no good that you don’t want to share, you might satisfy your desire by giving up every good that you have. But, more relevantly, if you want to have no good that you don’t want to share, you might satisfy the first desire by making it so that every good that you have you want to share. But you can have the first desire without satisfying it and so without having the second desire.
Re 2: Surely, not everything is possible. But, as we know, it’s hard to define omnipotence. And I don’t suppose Richard needs anything as strong as that God has the power to bring it about that contradictions are true.
Re 3: I see how a premise about divine happiness could provide, with other premises, an independent line as to why if there’s one, there’s another divine person. But it doesn’t seem necessary to the argument, if we have a premise about divine benevolence already, which should, if what he said in previous chapters is right, with other premises, provide reason to think if there’s one, there’s another divine person. And besides, what’s this about being so happy that nothing is difficult? You might well think this should be linked, not with happiness, but rather with power. God is so powerful that nothing is difficult for him. I suppose there could be a link between happiness and easiness: if you’re happy, things are not difficult for you. Maybe. It might depend on what your happiness consists in. In any case, it’s hard to see how this adds much of anything to the argument. If I were Richard, I would have put something about being so knowing that he uses his power to bring about what he wants. But that’s just me.
Suppose there is at least one person: P
Then (1*) P is so knowing, powerful, and good that he shares all that he has that he can.
And (2*) P has a perfect nature that he can share.
So (C1) there are at least two divine persons.
And if (C1), then (3*) P has a perfect love with another divine person that he can share.
Therefore, (C) if there is at least one divine person, there are at least three divine persons.
This could be something like what Richard has in mind, but spelled out a bit more.
Richard, though, says he hasn’t even started the main summary of his argument yet. He says this argument is enough, but he will makes things clearer. So next up, we will look at the clearer presentation. But this would be a good time for people to sum up any objections they have to Richard’s previous arguments that tie in to my proposed reconstruction. I confess I’ve not followed every objection and reply so far. And I suspect there may be more like me.