Ed Buckner

Ed Buckner studied and taught philosophy at the University of Bristol in England. He has a number of publications in the area of both analytic philosophy and medieval logic and philosophy. He is the author, with Jack Zupko, of Duns Scotus on Time & Existence, a translation of an early work by the philosopher-theologian Duns Scotus, with a comprehensive and detailed commentary. Now mostly retired, he curates the Logic Museum, a collection of primary sources in the history of logic.


  1. Dale Tuggy
    June 27, 2016 @ 9:52 am

    Sommer’s book is really interesting. Lest one is too disturbed by his thesis, he notes at the beginning – and now I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have it in hand – that all he means by “having a body” is that sometimes he can be seen and otherwise physically interacted with (i.e. heard, touched). But this is compatible with the idea that God is essentially non-bodily. It’s just that he produces theophanies which either do or seem to involve his employing a physical body. Platonists and fellow travelers like Justin Martyr thought this absurd, that God should so directly interact with the physical world. But you don’t see such scruples in the Jewish Bible.


  2. Dale Tuggy
    June 27, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    Hey Ed,

    Great post. I think that the weak link in his argument is this (in your words):

    “different subjects of experience must be distinguishable and identifiable (p.102) , and it is part of Strawson’s wider thesis that subjects can be distinguishable and identifiable only if they are embodied”

    What different subjects of experience must be is… different, non-identical. Conceivably, there could be different subjects of experience even if there is no one who can distinguish or identify (refer to) either of them. It looks like he’s mixing up his metaphysics and his epistemology. Any two things are going to be *in principle* distinguishable and identifiable.

    As best I can tell, he hasn’t shown that, in your words, “the concept of a subject who can satisfy P predicates is logically posterior, i.e. can exist only, if at all, as a secondary non-primitive concept, which itself is explicable only in terms of the concept of a person.” To the contrary, it seems that there is a subject to any experience – the one whose experience it is. And then we have a concept of a physical object. It’s not obvious whether or not something can be both. I can’t see that he has a sort of master argument to once and for all refute dualism, the claim that the subject of human experiences is not the body or any physical part of it, but rather an immaterial soul.


  3. Roman
    June 27, 2016 @ 4:04 am

    2 Things I would say to this.
    1. God having a body has always seemed a problem for trinitarian Christians, not for philosophical reasons but for theological, since Jesus was bodily raise, and his body ascended into heaven, it would necessitate, that God, the Son, has a body right now in heaven, occupying Space, which then conflicts With many of the classical theories about God, and arguments dealing With God.
    2. I can say, “I am depressed” and I can also say “you are depressed” but the expectation is not necessarily that we have the same subjective experience, but rather the external state of affairs are similar. So for example I can say “I am depressed” but I can also say “my dog is depressed,” not because me and my dog have parallel subjective experiences, but becuase my dog is acting in a similar way that I would act if I was depressed, or I can recognize signs that signal human depression, it’s analogous.
    So I can say “God is jealous,” but really mean “as far as I am concerned there is a state of affairs such that how I should act and how I should think of God should be as thought he was jealous,” whether or not there is any recognizable subjective experience that we would recognize as jealousy.
    Does that work? Or am I missunderstanding the argument?


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