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.

12 Comments

  1. Helez
    November 9, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    “Each of the persons are made up of numerically the same divine nature and a different incommunicable property”
    and
    “each of the persons are equally perfect because each is numerically the same thing”
    sounds plainly contradictory to me as well, unless the latter was supposed to be: “each of the persons are equally perfect because the essential PART OF each is numerically the same thing”

    How can two things each be numerically the same thing, when they have different properties? It might be just me, because I’m not clever enough, but I don’t understand how you feel your view resolves this apparent nonsense…

    Reply

  2. Helez
    November 8, 2013 @ 4:28 am

    Scott,

    It also would mean that in your view there are things that are not God that are timeless or existing eternally. Isn’t that quite unorthodox as well?

    Also, I still have difficulties to grasp your concept of an impersonal Self. You said that technically, only divine persons should be the referents of personal pronouns that are applied to God. But, as I understood, also that the distinct divine persons share the very same “I” and “me”, as there is no “me” and “you” dynamic between each of the persons. Doesn’t this mean that it is the impersonal shared Self (which is part of each person) that is the actual referent of the personal pronouns of God (at most by means of the persons, who each are more than God)? This seems painfully problematic, if not plainly contradictorily, to me. Has this been a concern for you while developing your view?

    Thanks,
    Helez

    Reply

  3. Helez
    November 7, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    Thanks a lot for taking the effort to explain this, Scott, your reply is interesting to me. So, in your view it is NOT so that there are “things that are God that are not part of every person”, but there are “things that are part of each person that are not God”. Each person is more than God, i.e., each person is, not a PART OF God, but PARTLY God. Correct?

    Isn’t this view equally unorthodox?

    Peace 2u,
    Helez

    Reply

  4. SMW
    November 6, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

    Hi Helez,

    Thanks for you question.

    >is it really fair to insist that each person is “fully God” when you actually believe that there are things that >are God that are NOT constituted in (or part of) each individual person? Isn’t that just a way of talking >around the unorthodox admittance: each person is a (fully divine) PART of God, while believing exactly >that?

    Perhaps you are thinking that if a divine person, x, is made up of the divine nature and an incommunicable distinguishing property, and that another divine person, y, is made up of numerically the same divine nature and a different incommunicable property, then it would follow that x is something (e.g., generating) that y is not? Is this the sort of worry you are expressing?

    A standard scholastic response to this objection is to deny that the distinguishing incommunicable properties are “pure perfections” (i.e. an attribute that it is better to have than not to have, taken simply and with reference to any kind-nature). On this view, the Father is not better than the Son because he’s the Father, and the Son isn’t the Father. _Being a father_ and _being a son_ are not pure perfections. If that’s right, then the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equally perfect even though each is something the other isn’t. They are equally perfect because each is numerically the same thing as the divine nature which is the ground of their divine power(s).

    Are there “things that are God that are not part of every person?” I’d say no. Is the Father’s distinguishing attribute “God”? I’d say no. The Father, who is constituted by the divine nature and the attribute _generating_, is God; the Son, who is constituted by the divine nature and the attribute _being generated_, is God; and, the Holy Spirit, who is constituted by the divine nature and the attribute _being spirated_, is God.

    I hope that helps toward answering your question.

    Sincerely,
    SMW

    Reply

  5. Helez
    October 29, 2013 @ 6:04 am

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks a lot for your explanation. It was useful. I’d like to harp on a bit more in regard of one issue: is it really fair to insist that each person is “fully God” when you actually believe that there are things that are God that are NOT constituted in (or part of) each individual person? Isn’t that just a way of talking around the unorthodox admittance: each person is a (fully divine) PART of God, while believing exactly that?

    Peace 2u,
    Helez

    Reply

  6. John
    October 29, 2013 @ 1:13 am

    SMW
    Thanks for your gracious reply to my rather ‘brusque’ comments.

    Your response did indeed assist in locating the discussion for me!

    I guess that I’m just feeling frustrated with the process of exegesis of text –
    which generally appears to me to be an attempt to force scriptures to
    support doctrine.

    Every Blessing
    John

    Reply

  7. SMW
    October 28, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    Dear John,

    I’m not sure who “SWK” is, but I take it that you are talking to me given the context.

    The interview and the article are not, as I understand it, sufficient to persuade someone to be a Trinitarian. I would point to works like, Basil of Cesarea’s _On the Holy Spirit_ for exegesis of Biblical passages in support of Trinitarianism. There are other classic patristic texts too that do exegesis of holy scripture in support of Trinitarianism.

    Clearly, my interview and article do not address the questions that you have. They address other questions. So you shouldn’t say that they fail b/c they don’t answer your questions. Suppose you read some Basil and other pro-Trinitarian texts, find that Trinitarianism is plausible, and then wonder how it could be metaphysically possible. It is at this point that my article (and interview) would be of interest and help.

    I know this doesn’t help you answer your questions; but it should locate this discussion for you. If you find yourself never convinced by Basil and others, then yes, the fine grained metaphysical discussion in my paper and interview won’t be of interest. Fair enough.

    Sincerely,
    SMW

    Reply

  8. John
    October 28, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    SWK
    The problem is that your Relative Identity models are just gymnastics designed to prove a point which is NOT supported by scripture!
    If you examine Brower and Reas paper you will find that the scriptures quoted are the ‘usual suspects’ and
    DO NOT support a Trinity.
    Humanity is not well-served by whipping this dead horse!
    How far do we have to go before we can ‘call it a day’?
    Blessings
    John

    Reply

  9. SMW
    October 28, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Hi Helez,

    Thanks for your questions.

    >what is the difference between the concept of three distinct ‘persons’ sharing and fully being one and the >same self, and the concept of one self expressing himself in three simultaneous ‘modes’ of being?

    I’d need you to say more about how you are using the term, “self.” Does it mean a subject that can receive a predicate? So, if there are three subjects that are not identical to each other, then some predications will be true of one of these subjects but not true of the other subjects. The latter seems near to Leftow’s “LT” or what I call “hard LT.” See the last section of my article for difference between “hard LT” and “soft LT”.

    >Is “soft LT” compatible with what is considered ‘orthodox’, ‘traditional’ or ‘catholic’ trinitarianism, as each >of the persons is not “fully” God, but only partly God? And God itself is not personal, only the respective >divine persons are?

    Yes. Soft LT is compatible with orthodox Trinitarianism. Each person is fully God. What, do we mean by God? If you mean whoever has divine attributes essentially (and necessarily), then on soft LT, each person is God. The term ‘God’ can be used to signify divine power or it can be used to signify an agent with divine power (essentially and necessarily), or both. So, the F, S, and HS each can be the referent of the term ‘God’.

    My sense is that when you say “God itself” that you are using the term ‘God’ to signify divine power? Technically, only divine persons should be the referents of personal pronouns that are applied to God. Of course, if you want to use the term ‘God’ ambiguously without distinguishes which sense of the term you are using, you can say things like, “God loves me.” The follow-up question might be, who loves me? Well, the F loves you, the Son loves you, and the Holy Spirit loves you. Why? Because the F, S, and HS each love you by numerically the same act of loving you.

    Numerical sameness without identity is discussed in detail by Brower and Rea’s work, and I’d refer you to their articles (which are cited in my article).

    At this point I’ll say this: (1) the divine nature (divine power) is a thing, (2) each divine personal property is a thing, and (3) the union of the divine nature and a personal property is a thing. What sorts of things are these? (1) is an individual case of a kind-nature. (2) is an individual case of a kind of relation (e.g., generating, being begotten) that is incommunicable (it can be a constituent of but one agent). (3) is a person, i.e. a subject/agent who is a kind of thing (by virtue of the divine nature) and is unique (by virtue of the incommunicable personal property); this person is distinct from all else.

    The persons share (essentially) numerically the same divine nature, which on soft LT, implies that the persons share numerically the same mental tokens (e.g., “I am the Father”). And, because each person uses this indexical and ambiguous token it follows that each person says different things (i.e. affirms different propositions). Each person says different things in using this token because the persons are not identical to each other. The persons are essentially numerically the same thing as divine nature without being identical to the divine nature. Why? Because each person is made up of the divine nature and an incommunicable personal property. Likewise, the persons are essentially numerically the same thing (with regard to the divine nature) as each other without being identical to each other. Why? Because of the metaphysics mentioned above about the divine persons.

    I hope this helps.

    Pax et bonum,
    SMW

    Reply

  10. Helez
    October 23, 2013 @ 6:24 am

    What is the difference between “hard LT” and certain versions of modalism, as in hard LT the three share, and fully are, the same Self? (Apart from merely redefining the word ‘person’ as not being ‘a self’, but as a thing (not mode) having a distinct life, a distinct stream of consciousness. I.e., the difference between a self being an ‘it” instead of a ‘he’ or ‘she’.) In other words: what is the difference between the concept of three distinct ‘persons’ sharing and fully being one and the same self, and the concept of one self expressing himself in three simultaneous ‘modes’ of being?

    Is “soft LT” compatible with what is considered ‘orthodox’, ‘traditional’ or ‘catholic’ trinitarianism, as each of the persons is not “fully” God, but only partly God? And God itself is not personal, only the respective divine persons are?

    Isn’t numerical sameness without identity a self-contradictory concept (unless relative identity theories are correct)? I understand William is claiming that the Father and the Son are numerically the same (one thing) while being two distinct things at the same time, right? Does “soft LT” require adherence to R.I. theories?

    Thanks,
    Helez

    Reply

  11. SMW
    October 21, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Dale.

    I look forward to any metaphysical or philosophy of mind questions that listeners might have. In the future I plan to publish a follow-up article that explores more details of “soft LT” or what is more precise, Non-social, Explanatory, Trinitarianism. In that future article, I intend to extend this model of the Trinity to the Incarnation. I am still wrestling with particular questions and realize that the model can be developed in several directions in the case of the Incarnation.

    Pax et bonum,
    Scott

    Reply

    • Dale
      October 21, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Scott. Please consider testing out your thoughts as posts here, as you see fit!

      Reply

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