Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

52 Comments

  1. Jaco
    June 19, 2013 @ 11:32 am

    Mario,

    If you can, could you please pop me a mail here: talkingdonkey1981@gmail.com. If you’re not on Dale’s blog anymore, we can still chat in private.

    Thanks,

  2. villanovanus
    May 31, 2013 @ 3:16 am

    John and Jaco,

    please let me know how can I oblige, even more than I have apparently already done … 😉

    MdS

  3. John
    May 31, 2013 @ 1:03 am

    Villanovanus

    “Enjoying the exchange between you and Jim- very edifying.!
    Blessings
    John

  4. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    @ John [# 48, May 30, 2013 at 10:50 am]

    What exactly, in “Jaco’s comments”, would you like to endorse?

    MdS

  5. John
    May 30, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Villanovanus,
    I would like to endorse Jaco’s comments in post 45.
    I have learnt a lot from your interchange !
    Of course I’m dying to see how this matter is resolved!
    Blessings
    John

  6. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    Jim,

    stop beating about the bush: do you or don’t you affirm “relative identity” as a valid concept?

    Thanks,

    MdS

  7. James Goetz
    May 30, 2013 @ 9:13 am

    Hi MdS,

    Per the first of comment 45:

    Sorry that I did not clarify this earlier, but you twisted the context of my statements in comments 8 and 37. My statements in those comments never claimed that relative identity is invalid. Can you understand the context of those statements?

    Peace,
    Jim

  8. villanovanus
    May 30, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    @ James Goetz [# 41, May 21, 2013 at 11:15 am]

    First, and for the umpteenth time, you have repeatedly written that “relative identity” is an “invalid concept” (#8, #37). So, if you were at all consistent, you should simply stop altogether using that concept. Of course, you may be even more drastic, and say that “absolute identity” is equally an invalid concept, at least when referred to real entities in the real world.

    Second, I have made sufficiently clear (see #13) that:

    Identity is “the relation each thing bears to itself and to no other thing”. So, when we say that two things are identical, we are really saying something different, viz. that they differ in name only and that they are really one and the same.
    From the above, it immediately follows that identity is and can ONLY be absolute.

    So, it is a perfect waste of time to speak of “A and B [which] are different compositions”: identity is ONLY “the relation each thing bears to itself and to no other thing”.

    Third, I have patiently explained that identity can be extended also to the relation a thing changing in time bears to itself, provided we consider it through its entire life-story, from initial time t1 to end time t2. Is there something still unclear about that?

    MdS

  9. Jaco
    May 30, 2013 @ 5:24 am

    No sarcasm. I really enjoy the exchange. I’m also looking forward to your reply to James Goetz.

  10. villanovanus
    May 29, 2013 @ 4:10 am

    Sarcasm much? 😉

  11. Jaco
    May 23, 2013 @ 2:54 am

    Fascinating robust discussion. Keep it coming, guys…

  12. James Goetz
    May 21, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    Hi MdS,

    Per your questions in comment 40:

    Carefully consider the implications of admitting P2 (A and B are different compositions). The composition of material things changes from one moment to the next. Likewise, the absolute identity of any material thing exists at any given point in time while the absolute identity ceases to exist from one moment to the next. In this same vein, a system of logic based on absolute identity, presumably Leibniz’s Law (LL), falls apart from one moment to the next.

    I also explained that the A = B and B = C syllogism requires qualification of absolute identity.

    I also clarified that all of my statements are within the context of the formula for relative identity, so I never disagreed with myself.

    If one admits to the accuracy P1 and P2 but refuses an attempt to reconcile them, then one evades the reality that they need reconciliation or one concedes that parts of the world are hopelessly contradictory.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  13. villanovanus
    May 20, 2013 @ 2:01 am

    @ James Goetz [# 39, May 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm]

    What logic “appears to evade reality”? What “logical system based on absolute identity falls apart from one moment to the next”?

    You have repeatedly written that “relative identity” is an “invalid concept” (#8, #37). Now you complain about the “categorical rejection of relative identity”. Try to agree at least with yourself …

    MdS

  14. James Goetz
    May 19, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 38:

    You admit the accuracy of P1 and P2 while you say that they are contradictory and it is senseless to use them in the same argument. This logic appears to evade reality. One could avoid evasion of reality if one reconsiders the importance of the logical system based on absolute identity that falls apart from one moment to the next. So far, nobody has presented a strong case for the exclusive use of absolute identity and the categorical rejection of relative identity.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  15. villanovanus
    May 19, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    @ James Goetz

    [# 37, May 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm] … P1 and P2 together exemplify relative identity.

    P1 affirms the identity of A and B; P2 denies the identity of A and B: they are contradictory, so it is senseless to uses them as part of the same “argument”.

    MdS

  16. James Goetz
    May 18, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    Hi MdS,

    If I correctly understand you, you presume:
    P1. A is identical to B and vice versa.
    P2. A and B are different compositions.
    P3. Relative identity is invalid.

    However, P1 and P2 together exemplify relative identity.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  17. villanovanus
    May 18, 2013 @ 3:09 am

    @ James Goetz [# 35, May 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm] Given that physical entities including biological entities constantly change over time, I see no basis for your presumption that A is absolutely identical to B unless you are referring to a paradoxical essence that is absolutely identical over time.

    I would reverse what you call a “paradox”: while the simplest objects, elementary particles, according to Quantum Theory, “cannot be regarded as individual objects”, or anyway, “such objects are indistinguishable in a sense which leads to the violation of Leibniz’s … Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles” (see SEP > Identity and Individuality in Quantum Theory), it is the identity of complex, living conscious beings to themselves (in spite of some sophistications on Personal Identity) that I find more intuitively obvious …

    … at least until someone can reproduce two identical individual humans in a superposition of quantum states … 😉

    MdS

  18. James Goetz
    May 17, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 34 part 2:

    Thank you for clarifying those points about your model of continuity of identity over time.

    Given that physical entities including biological entities constantly change over time, I see no basis for your presumption that A is absolutely identical to B unless you are referring to a paradoxical essence that is absolutely identical over time.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  19. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

    @ James Goetz

    [# 32, May 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm]

    [m] All cases of mammalian bodies with multiple heads (human or non-human) are identical siblings who/that never completely separated unlike normal identical siblings. By the way, term “identical” in the case of normal identical siblings means they existed as an identical zygote (fertilized egg) or up to an identical early embryonic stage. In some cases of conjoined twins, some organs are identical. For example, the Hensel twins have an identical reproductive system.

    [n] Some of the substance of the Cerberus is undivided, and that undivided substance is a good comparison to the Trinity. But the heads and necks of the Cerberus and most real multi-headed mammalian bodies are divided, and that divided substance is a misguided comparison to the Trinity that many social Trinitarians nonetheless appreciate.

    [m] Mine was not a question on the embryology of Siamese twins and/or (more specifically) on “mammalian bodies with multiple heads”. The whole point, once again, is that Cerberus is a dog with three heads, IOW a monster, which is not inconceivable, in fact it is even possible and there are even real cases of such monsters. Likewise the “trinitarian god” is a (well, yes) monster (yikes!), but it is not inconceivable. Personally (beside finding it inconsistent with the Scripture), I sincerely hope that such monster, the “trinitarian god” is not real, that it is not the case.

    [n] See my comment #31 for Jaco, in particular his quoted b and my comment b. Briefly, when speaking of the “trinity”, the word “substance” (which is the direct translation of the Greek ousia) is NOT a “mass term”, does NOT mean “stuff”, or “continuous substance”, BUT either “particular entity belonging to a class” (primary substance) or the “class (=universal) to which the particulars belong” ” (secondary substance). In the case of God (be it the God of Scripture or the “trinitarian God”), because there is only one, the “particular entity belonging to the class God” coincides with the “class (=universal) to which the particular entity, God, belong”.

    Having clarified the above, whichever of the three heads you consider, it is always the same Cerberus. Likewise, whichever “person” you consider, it is always the same “trinitarian god”.

    Finally, and once again, the only parallels that are missing from the Cerberus-analogy, when compared with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan (and traditional-orthodox) model of the “trinity” are the s.c. “processions” (respectively “generation of the son” and “spiration of the spirit”), but then, Calvin was quite ready to minimize/ignore them, so as to insist on the absolute equality (aseity, autotheotes) of the three “persons” (see his Institutes, Book I, Chapter 13).

    [# 33, May 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm] Does A(t)=B(t) and t1 < t < t2 imply some type of simultaneous existence of t1 and t2?

    No, it means considering A and B (which is presumed absolutely identical to A, that is one and the same as A) at every single instant t included between t1 (beginning of existence) and t2 (end of existence).

    MdS

  20. James Goetz
    May 17, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    MdS, per comment 31:

    Does A(t)=B(t) and t1 < t < t2 imply some type of simultaneous existence of t1 and t2?

    Blessings,

    Jim

  21. James Goetz
    May 17, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 22:

    MdS said:
    And how, pray tell, would a dog with three heads (or a human with three heads, for that matter) be discernible from triplet sharing the same body, and having only three separate heads? (Other than by mere verbal convention, I mean.)

    My reply:
    All cases of mammalian bodies with multiple heads (human or non-human) are identical siblings who/that never completely separated unlike normal identical siblings. By the way, term “identical” in the case of normal identical siblings means they existed as an identical zygote (fertilized egg) or up to an identical early embryonic stage. In some cases of conjoined twins, some organs are identical. For example, the Hensel twins have an identical reproductive system.

    MdS said:
    Don’t forget that Cerberus is an analogy for the “trinity”, but, AFAIAC, it is a very strong one, as I have already suggested at the above comment #21 (body “substance”; heads “persons”; Cerberus “trinitarian god”).

    My reply:
    Some of the substance of the Cerberus is undivided, and that undivided substance is a good comparison to the Trinity. But the heads and necks of the Cerberus and most real multi-headed mammalian bodies are divided, and that divided substance is a misguided comparison to the Trinity that many social Trinitarians nonetheless appreciate.

    MdS said:
    The only parallels that are missing from the Cerberus-analogy, when compared with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan (and traditional-orthodox) model of the “trinity” are the s.c. “processions” (respectively “generation of the son” and “spiration of the spirit”), but then, Calvin was quite ready to minimize/ignore them, so as to insist on the absolute equality (aseity, autotheotes) of the three “persons” (see his Institutes, Book I, Chapter 13).

    My reply:
    See my previous sentence.

  22. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    @ James Goetz [May 17, 2013 at 7:31 am] I understand that “A” and “B“ is the entity; “t1? and “t2? are time coordinates, but I am not sure what you mean by “A(t)=B(t)” and “t1 < t < t2." Also, what specifically does "<" mean?

    “t1? and “t2? are two instants in time, respectively the beginning and the end of the history of A (presumed identical to B).

    A(t) means “entity A at the (generic) instant in time t”

    The symbol “<" means "less than", so “t1 < t < t2" means "time included between the beginning and the end (of the history of A)”

    MdS

  23. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    @ Jaco [#26, May 17, 2013 at 6:25 am]

    [a] Why do you say it [the Cerberus analogy] [i]s a strong analogy? I just think it’s a different version of the same picture painted throughout history. You might want to be clearer on what you make of the analogy. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

    [b] The issue I have with it [use of the correspondence: body of Cerberus = = “substance” of the “trinity”] is that a numerical modifier (=”body”) is used as a mass term (=”substance”). Since substance is unrelated to number, then three distinct persons and beings chained at the ankle would still be “one substance.” I think the necessity of a one-bodied mythological character would then be unnecessary…

    [c] I have no reason to consider it [“self”] otherwise [than “person”]. The second part of the question [what (other than mere verbal convention/decision) distinguishes the phrase “one body/self/substance with three heads/consciousnesses/persons” from “three heads/consciousnesses/persons sharing the same body/self/substance”?] had me thinking a bit. While I don’t see any conceptual difference between the two clauses (…), I find it hard to understand how you understand “body” to be synonymous to “self” synonymous to “substance.” Identical twins have identical genomes but distinct bodies, distinct selves but identical substance. Grafting the two bodies will reduce the number of bodies to one, but there would still be two selves.

    [d] I just wonder how many seemingly contradictory constructs could be thought out and centuries spent on trying to reconcile the contradiction at some level. It could be an amusing exercise for logicians. But what’s the use?

    [e] What forces us to understand “God” as a mass term (=”substance”) and not a numerical modifier (=”a god”).

    [f] Wouldn’t “spirit” be a substance too? (I know in that case all kinds of other members would share in that substance…)

    [g] What do you think about that summary on Cartwright’s book?

    [a] I assume that by the expression “same picture painted throughout history” you are referring to (one of the many versions of) the s.c. “shield of the trinity”. Now, while the “shield of the trinity” is geometrically accurate, it doesn’t really clarify what are, respectively, the “substance” and the “persons”. In fact, with the central circle marked as “God” (or Deus), it seems to suggest a “quaternity”, rather than a “trinity”. OTOH, and once again, if you establish these correspondences

    Cerberus = = “trinitarian god”

    whole body of Cerberus (including the 3 heads) = = whole “substance” [NOTE] of the “trinity” (including the 3 “persons”)

    3 heads of Cerberus = = 3 “persons” of the “trinity”

    … you have a model of the “trinity”, whose only limit is that it doesn’t account for the “processions”. But then, again, neither does the “shield of the trinity”.

    [NOTE] For the problem you seem to have with the use of the word “substance” (Greek ousia), see next.

    [b] The problem, here, is that you are assuming that the word “substance” used in the “trinitarian god” is a “mass term”, as though the “substance” of the “trinity” was some sort of “continuous substance” (like oil or soap), somehow “filling” the “persons”. But in the Greek language, in which the doctrine of the “trinity” was originally formulated, the word ousia, in its philosophical, metaphysical use, in particular in Aristotle, can mean two rather different things (see his Categories):

    1. Primary substance is that which cannot be predicated of anything or be said to be in anything. Hence, this particular man or that particular tree are substances. Later in the text of hisCategories, Aristotle calls these particulars “primary substances”, to distinguish them from …

    2.secondary substances, which are universals (= classes) and can be predicated.

    For example, Socrates is a primary substance, while man is a secondary substance. Man is predicated of Socrates, and therefore all that is predicated of man is predicated of Socrates.

    So, what is the “trinitarian god”? Well, it is, at the same time, a “primary substance” (because it is a concrete instance of the category “god”), AND/BUT also a “secondary substance”, because the class “god” is constituted by one and only one instance.

    In the Cerberus analogy, Cerberus is a “primary substance” (because it is a concrete instance of the category “three-headed-dog”). IF we make the further assumption that Cerberus is unique, then Cerberus is also a “secondary substance” (because the class of “three-headed-dogs” has only one concrete instance: Cerberus).

    So, once again, the “Cerberus analogy” is a good model of the “trinity” (except for the “processions”)

    [c] First, I trust (hope …) that my answer [b] above will have clarified the ambiguous meaning of the word “substance”, while excluding once and for all its use in the sense of “mass term” (or “continuous substance”), when applied to the “trinity”.

    Second, I take good note that (as apparently Dale does, BTW) you use the word “self” as synonym of “person”. Let me remind you that the “Cerberus analogy” is what it is: an analogy. Therefore it should be rather obvious that, while it is legitimate to attribute to a spiritual entity like God (and even to the “trinitarian god”) consciousness and person(s), nobody (I hope) would attribute consciousness and/or person(s) to a dog, whether with one or three heads. So, for the sake of clarity, let’s omit “selves” and “consciousnesses”, and consider ONLY the correspondences indicated at my above reply [a].

    [d] My point is precisely that the “Cerberus model” is NOT a “contradictory construct” of the “trinity”, BUT is logically valid and sound. I leave it to you (or someone else) to prove otherwise (once again, with the caveat that the “Cerberus analogy” does NOT satisfactorily model the “divine processions” of the “trinity”.

    As for the “use”, I consider a rather relevant consequence of the validity and soundness of the “Cerberus model” of the “trinity” that the problems with the “trinity” are NOT logical/conceptual, BUT rather lack of scriptural support.

    [e] Once again, I trust (hope …) that my answer [b] above will have clarified the ambiguous meaning of the word “substance” (primary vs secondary), while excluding once and for all its use in the sense of “mass term” (or “continuous substance”), when applied to the “trinity”.

    [f] If one believes in the possibility/existence of “spiritual substances” (once again, in the Aristotelian sense of ousia, NOT in the sense of “mass term” or “continuous substance”), then the God of the Scripture (and even the unscriptural “trinitarian god”) belongs to that class. (But I have no idea what your parenthetical comment would mean …)

    [g] See my relative comment #29 of May 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

    MdS

  24. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    @ Jaco [#24, May 17, 2013 at 4:24 am] … check out this article: “A summary of Richard Cartwright’s On the Logical Problem of the Trinity [by L.M. Geerdink]

    The “Cerberus analogy” is perfectly compatible with the first 7 propositions (“doctrine [of the “trinity”] in narrow sense”) quoted at page 1 of the above essay. More, it is perfectly apt to illustrate them. Check.

    Even proposition no.11 (“What [the] Father is, such is the Son and such the Holy Spirit”) can be modelled with the “Cerberus analogy”:

    What Cerberus1 is (a dog with three heads), such is Cerberus2 and such Cerberus3

    Once again, the “Cerberus analogy” is NOT suited to model the additional 3 propositions (no. 8 through no. 10) that make up the “doctrine in wider sense” and that, as can be easily seen, are essentially the Nicene-Constantinopolitan (and traditional-orthodox) model of the “trinity” (directly derived from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed), viz. the s.c. “processions” (respectively “generation of the son” and “spiration of the spirit”). But then, as already remarked, Calvin was quite ready to minimize/ignore them, so as to insist on the absolute equality (aseity, autotheotes) of the three “persons” (see his Institutes, Book I, Chapter 13).

    I will add here that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan formulation (NOT the “one ousia in three hypostases” of the Cappadocians) retains some subordinationist “flavor”, which was NEVER eliminated in EO Christianity, whereas it was forced out of the doctrine of the “trinity”, in Western Christianity, ONLY with Peter Lombard …

    For since one and most high certain thing is the Divine Essence, if the Divine Essence has begotten the Essence, the same thing has begotten its very self, which entirely cannot be; but rather the Father alone has begotten the Son, and from the Father and the Son the Holy Spirit proceeds. (Sentences, Book 1, Distinction 5, Chapter 1)

    … eventually sanctioned (in even more “essentialist” and “egalitarian” form that Peter Lombard himself had) by the 4th Lateran Council (1215):

    But we, with the approval of the holy and general council, believe and confess with Peter (Lombard) that there is one supreme entity, incomprehensible and ineffable, which is truly Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, together (simul) three persons and each one of them singly. (The Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Canon 2 (“On the error of abbot Joachim”, @ fordham.edu)

    Calvin, who so thoroughly attacked the Roman and “popish” doctrine in nearly all aspects, with his radically egalitarian “trinity”, peculiarly and unreservedly retained the most scholastic product of the Medieval Church, viz. the doctrine of the “trinity” of Peter Lombard and of the 4th Lateran Council.

    MdS

  25. James Goetz
    May 17, 2013 @ 7:39 am

    Hi John,

    Per comment 19:

    John said:
    But doesn’t ‘three consciousnesses’ denote three persons?

    My reply:
    Yes.

    John said:
    Are not the conjoined legs and organs no more than common user facilities?
    Isn’t it something like a computer connected to several facilities –
    -i.e. printers, scanners etc.?
    Am I being over-simplistic?

    My reply:
    That sounds correct to me as long as the facilities are integral to the persons.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  26. James Goetz
    May 17, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 20:

    Sometimes I am slow to understand equations. I understand that “A” and “B“is the entity; “t1” and “t2” are time coordinates, but I am not sure what you mean by “A(t)=B(t)” and “t1 < t < t2." Also, what specifically does "<" mean?

    Blessings,

    Jim

  27. Jaco
    May 17, 2013 @ 6:25 am

    @MdS

    [a] The Cerberus analogy is, once again, an analogy, but a strong analogy. See my comment #22. Why don’t you take issue with my comment, if you have problems with it?

    Why do you say it’s a strong analogy? I just think it’s a different version of the same picture painted throughout history. You might want to be clearer on what you make of the analogy. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

    [b] How is this an objection to the “Cerberus analogy”? A human (or a dog, for that matter) “with with no arms and legs” still has a body (= “substance”) and a head (= “person”).

    The issue I have with it is that a numerical modifier (=”body”) is used as a mass term (=”substance”). Since substance is unrelated to number, then three distinct persons and beings chained at the ankle would still be “one substance.” I think the necessity of a one-bodied mythological character would then be unnecessary…

    [c] It all depends whether you use the word “self” in the same sense as “person” or not. Again what (other than mere verbal convention/decision) distinguises the phrase “one body/self/substance with three heads/consciousnesses/persons” from “three heads/consciousnesses/persons sharing the same body/self/substance”?

    I have no reason to consider it otherwise (i.e. “self” in the same sense of “person”). The second part of the question had me thinking a bit. While I don’t see any conceptual difference between the two clauses (unless you might want to show where you do see a difference), I find it hard to understand how you understand “body” to be synonymous to “self” synonymous to “substance.” Identical twins have identical genomes but distinct bodies, distinct selves but identical substance. Grafting the two bodies will reduce the number of bodies to one, but there would still be two selves.

    [d] This is a perfectly legitimate question, but it has nothing to do with the logical validity and soundness of the “Cerberus model” of the “trinity”. (BTW, my personal opinion is that the “trinity” has no foundation in the Scripture, but is a projection on the Scripture).

    Sure. I just wonder how many seemingly contradictory constructs could be thought out and centuries spent on trying to reconcile the contradiction at some level. It could be an amusing excercise for logicians. But what’s the use?

    Just a question. What forces us to understand “God” as a mass term(=”substance”) and not a numerical modifier (=”a god”). Wouldn’t “spirit” be a substance too? (I know in that case all kinds of other members would share in that substance…)

    Jaco

    What do you think about that summary on Cartwright’s book?

  28. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 5:35 am

    @ Jaco [#24, May 17, 2013 at 4:24 am]

    [a] I do not see how the Cerberus analogy will bring us any closer to solving the logical problems with the Trinity.

    [b] If physiological composition numerically alter ontology, then is someone with no arms and legs less human than someone with all their limbs, while still being fully personal?

    [c] I am of the contention that multiple, distinct consciousnesses are actually distinct ontologies and distinct selves. No degree of relational arrangement can change this numerical distinction.

    [d] And finally, are these analogies compatible with what we are presented in the bible? Are these true or false analogies? And if we talk about GOD in the trinitarian sense and refer to the biblical God, are we or are we not equivocating?

    [a] The Cerberus analogy is, once again, an analogy, but a strong analogy. See my comment #22. Why don’t you take issue with my comment, if you have problems with it?

    [b] How is this an objection to the “Cerberus analogy”? A human (or a dog, for that matter) “with with no arms and legs” still has a body (= “substance”) and a head (= “person”).

    [c] It all depends whether you use the word “self” in the same sense as “person” or not. Again what (other than mere verbal convention/decision) distinguises the phrase “one body/self/substance with three heads/consciousnesses/persons” from “three heads/consciousnesses/persons sharing the same body/self/substance”?

    [d] This is a perfectly legitimate question, but it has nothing to do with the logical validity and soundness of the “Cerberus model” of the “trinity”. (BTW, my personal opinion is that the “trinity” has no foundation in the Scripture, but is a projection on the Scripture).

    MdS

  29. Jaco
    May 17, 2013 @ 4:24 am

    I do not see how the Cerberus analogy will bring us any closer to solving the logical problems with the Trinity.

    “To clear up all ambiguity: just as Cerberus is a single dog with three consciousnesses, so God is a single spiritual substance or soul with three self-consciousnesses.”

    And taking the analogy of human triplets sharing some vital body part: how are the individuality or the ontological distinction of three distinct humans chained by the heels any different from a conjoined triplet? Since, according to the trinity, there are fewer beings than persons, can we say that there are fewer humans in the case of a conjoined triplet than there are persons? And if so, does physiological composition numerically alter ontology? If not, then a conjoint triplet will be three humans and three persons nevertheless. If physiological composition numerically alter ontology, then is someone with no arms and legs less human than someone with all their limbs, while still being fully personal?

    I am of the contention that multiple, distinct consciousnesses are actually distinct ontologies and distinct selves. No degree of relational arrangement can change this numerical distinction.

    And finally, are these analogies compatible with what we are presented in the bible? Are these true or false analogies? And if we talk about GOD in the trinitarian sense and refer to the biblical God, are we or are we not equivocating?

    Just my thoughts.

    O yes, check ou this article: http://leongeerdink.nl/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Summary-Cartwright.pdf

  30. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 3:26 am

    @John [#19, May 17, 2013 at 1:37 am]… Isn’t it something like a computer connected to serveral facilities …

    A more accurate model would be a network of three computers such that the system requires (“essentially”) all three computers.

    MdS

  31. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 3:16 am

    @ James Goetz [#18, May 16, 2013 at 11:59 pm] … Most people do not call the conjoined human twins a multi-headed human. At this angle, Cererbus is conjoined triplet dogs with three dog heads and three dog consciousnesses that share a single body trunk and four legs.

    And how, pray tell, would a dog with three heads (or a human with three heads, for that matter) be discernible from triplet sharing the same body, and having only three separate heads? (Other than by mere verbal convention, I mean.)

    Don’t forget that Cerberus is an analogy for the “trinity”, but, AFAIAC, it is a very strong one, as I have already suggested at the above comment #21 (body “substance”; heads “persons”; Cerberus “trinitarian god”).

    The only parallels that are missing from the Cerberus-analogy, when compared with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan (and traditional-orthodox) model of the “trinity” are the s.c. “processions” (respectively “generation of the son” and “spiration of the spirit”), but then, Calvin was quite ready to minimize/ignore them, so as to insist on the absolute equality (aseity, autotheotes) of the three “persons” (see his Institutes, Book I, Chapter 13).

    MdS

  32. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 2:29 am

    To clear up all ambiguity: just as Cerberus is a single dog with three consciousnesses, so God is a single spiritual substance or soul with three self-consciousnesses.Trinity Monotheism Once More: A Response to Daniel Howard-Snyder, by William Lane Craig

    @ Dale [#17, May 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm]Yet they try to have it both ways. I don’t have the quotes in front of me, but it seems that sometimes they think of the “persons” not as sets of mental events owned by or in the one divine self (God) but rather as so many selves, which indeed, Father and Son must be, to enjoy a personal relationship.

    And how, pray tell, would that affect the question of the identity, of the oneness of “substance” (?body) and of the threeness of “persons” (?heads) for the God (?Cerberus)?

    MdS

  33. villanovanus
    May 17, 2013 @ 2:15 am

    @ James Goetz [May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm]… do you have a coherent view of absolute identity over time?

    Identity over time is really the problem of how to deal with the identity of changing entities. Again, in a nutshell, the identity of entities changing over time must include time. So, if we have the history of an entity called A that exists from t1 to t2, it will be identical to B if A(t)=B(t), for t1 < t < t2.

    MdS

  34. John
    May 17, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    Jim
    But doesn’t ‘three consciousnesses’ denote three persons?
    Are not the conjoined legs and organs no more that ‘common user facilities?
    Isn’t it something like a computer connected to serveral facilities –
    -i.e. printers, scanners etc.?
    Am I being over-simplistic?
    Every Blessing
    John

  35. James Goetz
    May 16, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

    “To clear up all ambiguity: just as Cerberus is a single dog with three consciousnesses, so God is a single spiritual substance or soul with three self-consciousnesses.” William Lane Craig

    However, multi-headed (polycephaly) vertabrates are conjoined twins. The most common multi-headed vertebrates are turtles and snakes while farm show attractions occasionally contain multi-headed sheep, cattle, and cats. There are also conjoined human twins that share a single ribcage such as the Hensel twins who are easy to find on the web. In the case of such conjoined humans, a multi-headed body is clearly two humans sharing a single body. Most people do not call the conjoined human twins a multi-headed human. At this angle, Cererbus is conjoined triplet dogs with three dog heads and three dog consciousnesses that share a single body trunk and four legs.

  36. Dale
    May 16, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

    “To clear up all ambiguity: just as Cerberus is a single dog with three consciousnesses, so God is a single spiritual substance or soul with three self-consciousnesses.”

    Yet they try to have it both ways. I don’t have the quotes in front of me, but it seems that sometimes they think of the “persons” not as sets of mental events owned by or in the one divine self (God) but rather as so many selves, which indeed, Father and Son must be, to enjoy a personal relationship.

  37. James Goetz
    May 16, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 13:

    I appreciate those SEP articles. In the case of your view of absolute identity, do you have a coherent view of absolute identity over time?

    Blessings,

    Jim

  38. villanovanus
    May 16, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    John,

    yes, I believe that the notion of (absolute) identity, as applied to the three “persons” of God, is instantiated in Modalism, but, in my opinion, also in Moreland’s and Craig’s “Trinity Monotheism” which, AFAIAC, is nothing but Calvin’s notion of the “trinity” (Institutes, Book I, Chapter 13) taken to the logical consequence of the “Cerberus model”.

    In William Lane Craig’s own words:

    To clear up all ambiguity: just as Cerberus is a single dog with three consciousnesses, so God is a single spiritual substance or soul with three self-consciousnesses.Trinity Monotheism Once More: A Response to Daniel Howard-Snyder, by William Lane Craig

    MdS

  39. John
    May 16, 2013 @ 6:13 am

    Villanovanus
    Thanks so much!
    I will read the papers you suggest.
    The thing that immediately springs to mind is ‘modalism’ – is that valid?
    Blessings
    John

  40. villanovanus
    May 16, 2013 @ 5:37 am

    John,

    I have not written anything specific on the subject of identity, nor of “relative identity”.

    You may find these articles at SEP useful, Identity and Relative Identity, but you have to read them critically.

    As for my own thought, in a nutshell it is this:

    Identity is “the relation each thing bears to itself and to no other thing”. So, when we say that two things are identical, we are really saying something different, viz. that they differ in name only and that they are really one and the same.

    From the above, it immediately follows that identity is and can ONLY be absolute.

    MdS

  41. John
    May 15, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    Villanovanus
    Have you written anything on the subject of ‘relative identity’ ?
    If not, perhaps you could suggest where I could look?
    (kept simple of course!!)

    Blessings
    John

  42. villanovanus
    May 13, 2013 @ 6:18 am

    @ James Goetz [#8, May 13, 2013 at 1:56 am]

    ABI [if A = B, then A is identical to B] ia NOT a “syllogism”. More modestly, “A is identical to B” is (nothing but) an explanation (or interpretation) of the formalism “A = B”. One could have said equally well, for instance, “A equals B”, without ever mentioning identity, let alone the mythical animal “relative identity”.

    As for your parenthetical “(x and y are the same F but x and y are different Gs)”, it is entirely evident that it is part of the very definition of “relative identity”, which, once again, is a manifest oxy-moron.

    MdS

  43. John
    May 13, 2013 @ 4:42 am

    All
    I must apologise for giving you a ‘link’ which does not work!
    The only way I can access this site is to “Google” ” Angelfire The Trinity Delusion” and then click on the scripture I wish to access.
    The Kingdom Ready web-site has also an excellent ‘data bank’ – although I find the Angelfire site to be more exhaustive.
    Blessings
    John

  44. John
    May 13, 2013 @ 4:35 am

    Dale
    I listened, with great interest to this podcast.

    I agree with Finnegan that for much of the debate White kept Navas ‘on the back foot’.

    I also fully concurr with you that it is the Trinitarians who are the rationalists – twisting and turning to try and make scriptures ‘fit’ their doctrine. The truth is after all, so simple.!!

    Navas did an admirable job – but the scriptures selected by White were not ‘meaningful’ in the overall debate.

    In fact NO scripture selected -even if ‘won’ by White can possibly ‘override’ the import of Christs own words
    in Mark 12 v 29 and John 20v17!.

    The first scripture reviewed (John 12v41) showed White as a more experienced debater and to be honest Navas did not match White on several points.

    Unitarians have some good points to make regarding John 12v41 and I have found the ‘data bank’ contained in
    http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity/verses/jn12_41.html to be extremely well researched.

    As the author comments:
    “The immedate context is about disbelief. Even though the man Jesus had done many signs, they did not believe him.
    And so John indicates this is the fulfilment of Isaiahs prophesies .
    Jesus responds by teaching on seeing and believing – to see Jesus is not to see Jesus but to see the Father
    Throughout the Gospel of John , Jesus explains that he was at one with the Father in the works he did in the Fathers name.
    People saw the Father at work in Jesus. Even further, John said “though he had performed so many signs before them , they were not believing in him (v37).
    We are told in the scriptures that these signs were done by God the Father at work in Jesus
    John 14:10 , Acts 2:23 etc.

    The author makes many important points
    In Isaiah 6 we see YHWH sitting on his throne – and it seems that in theTrinitarians mind YHWH sitting on the throne is not the Triune God, not God the Father, but simply Jesus.

    They say that “metal sharpens metal’ and debates such as this can only get better and better.!

    The good news is that while Navas can only learn to ‘sharpen’ his debating skills and his undertanding of Trinitarian nonsense (and ‘red-herrings’,) White is stuck with a finite pool of scriptures with which to rebut him.
    In the end, the truth will win!
    Every Blessing
    John

  45. James Goetz
    May 13, 2013 @ 1:56 am

    Hi MdS,

    Per comment 5:

    Actually, one can see that the syllogism ABI exemplifies relative identity while rejecting the validity of the concept of relative identity. In that case, the choices follow:
    1. ABI and the respective classical syllogism are wrong.
    2. ABI is correct and exemplifies relative identity, which is an invalid concept.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  46. James Goetz
    May 12, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    Hi Abel, the first words of the blog post “Ably reviewed” are underlined, which is identical to the link for the debate. Jim

  47. Abel
    May 12, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    Hi
    Perhaps someone can help me? -Where can I find the Navas vs White debate?
    Yours Sincerely
    Abel

  48. villanovanus
    May 12, 2013 @ 4:02 am

    James Goetz [May 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm]

    ABI [if A = B, then A is identical to B] exemplifies the formula logic of relative identity (x and y are the same F but x and y are different Gs).

    Of course, one first has to accept the very validity of the concept of “relative identity” (a parturition of the mind of the 20th-century English philosopher Peter Geach).

    I don’t.

    It is a manifest oxy-moron.

    MdS

  49. James Goetz
    May 12, 2013 @ 2:38 am

    Hi John,

    Per that you do not understand “… how two different characters with different respective shapes can be nevertheless identical.”

    I will try to restate it this way: The letter “A” is a character with a shape that is distinct from the letter “B” while A = B. Does that help to make the statement clearer? If that is not clear, then the rest of it based on that statement is irrelevant.

    Blessings,

    Jim

  50. John
    May 12, 2013 @ 2:06 am

    Hi Jim
    I don’t understand your statement –

    “… how two different characters with different respective shapes can be nevertheless identical”

    Surely
    If A = B and
    B=C then
    A = C

    Surely

    If God is the Father
    And The Father is NOT the Son
    Then The Son is NOT GOD

    Am I missing something?

    Every Blessing
    John

  51. James Goetz
    May 11, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

    Hi Dale,

    If I may, I have no direct comment about the Patrick Navas versus James White debate, but I have comments about a statement of yours.

    Dale says that the following statement is contradictory:
    “Jesus and the Father are both identical to God, but not to each other.”

    My Reply:
    The above statement of yours appears unclear to me. For example, I suppose that statement means or at least implies the following:

    “Jesus and the Father are both identical to God, but distinct from each other.”

    If I misinterpreted you, then pardon me. But if I correctly interpreted you, then consider the following syllogism that I call “ABI”: if A = B, then A is identical to B. Do you agree or disagree with syllogism ABI?

    If one disagrees with ABI, then that indicates disagreement with the following classical syllogism: if A = B and B = C, then A = C.

    Alternatively, if one agrees with ABI, then one agrees that A and B are two distinct characters with different respective shapes while A and B are nonetheless identical. Likewise, two distinct characters can be identical to each other. In this case, ABI exemplifies the formula logic of relative identity (x and y are the same F but x and y are different Gs).

    The choices follow:
    1. ABI and the respective classical syllogism are wrong.
    2. ABI is correct and exemplifies relative identity.

    Blessings,

    Jim

    (I hope my HTML tags are correct.)

  52. villanovanus
    May 11, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

    As usual there are (at least) three main problems with Dale (I am getting repetitive, but, maybe, … repetita iuvant):

    1. He claims to be a “humanist unitarian”, but then, somehow, he considers the existence of “subordinate gods” compatible with unitarianism and therefore, a fortiori, with monotheism.

    2. He refuses the (co-eternal, co-equal, tri-personal) “trinity”, but then he is perfectly happy with some alleged “pre-existent christ”, as though it was not evident that, historically, this is a step towards the full-fledged doctrine of the “trinity”.

    3. He simply ignores the Arian controversy as THE crisis, in response to which the full-fledged doctrine of the “trinity” was at last established, as a compromise between the new-Nicenes and the semi-Arians.

    MdS