So next up ch.16. Here’s my version of what goes on in this chapter:
- Full wisdom and power can exist in only one person. If, per impossibile, there is only one divine person, he can still have fullness of wisdom and power.
- The pleasures of wisdom and love differ. The pleasure of wisdom can be drawn from oneself. The pleasure of love must be drawn from another. Anyone who loves and desires to be so loved but doesn’t receive such love is displeased. But the pleasure of wisdom is even better when one derives it from oneself.
- If, in divinity, there is only one person, such a person can have full wisdom. Full wisdom and full power can’t exist without each other. For suppose someone lacks omnipotence. If she doesn’t know how to obtain what she so lacks, then she lacks full wisdom. And anyone who unwillingly suffers some defect of wisdom lacks full power. Therefore, if, in divinity, there is only one person, such a person can also have full power.
Re 1: I like the implicit distinction here between what is a real and only a conceptual possibility. There can’t really be only one divine person. For, as Richard is trying to demonstrate, there must be at least three divine persons. But the concepts of full wisdom and power don’t conceptually imply the concept of more than one divine person.
Re 2: Wisdom brings pleasure. If you desire wisdom and you have it and believe you have it, then you have the pleasure wisdom brings. And love also brings pleasure. If you desire love and you have it and believe you have it, then you have the pleasure love brings. That’s what you might think Richard would say. But he doesn’t say this exactly. Rather he says this. When you have the pleasure of wisdom, the object of your pleasure is not wisdom but rather yourself under the aspect of being wise. And when you have the pleasure of love, the object of your pleasure is not love but rather your beloved under the aspect of loving you. I like the implicit claim here that there is a kind of pleasure that is factive. If you have a certain kind of pleasure of wisdom, you must exist and be wise in order for you to have such pleasure. Anyone who had an intrinsically identical pleasure-state but was not wise would lack this kind of pleasure. And if you have a certain kind of pleasure of love, your beloved must exist and love you in order for you to have such pleasure. And anyone who had an intrinsically identical pleasure-state but had no beloved or had a beloved who did not love her would lack this kind of pleasure.
Re 3: This is a very interesting section. Do full wisdom and power imply each other? Does full wisdom imply full power? Richard seems to include in full wisdom knowing how to obtain what you lack. Let’s grant this. But Richard seems to assume, without argument, that if one lacks full power that can only be because one doesn’t know how to obtain it. On this assumption, it can’t be that one knows how to obtain full power but doesn’t choose to obtain it or even chooses not to obtain it. That’s not obvious. Does full power imply full wisdom? Again, Richard seems to assume, without argument, that anyone who suffers anything unwillingly lacks full power. Or to put it the other way around: anyone who has full power doesn’t suffer anything unwillingly. Arguably, full power includes irrestible will: so that it must be that what one wills is so. So, arguably, nothing is contrary to what one who has full power wills. But it’s consistent with this that something is so that one who has full power doesn’t will. One might have less than full wisdom, but not will that one have full wisdom. That’s just the kind of thing you’d expect if one really did suffer a defect of wisdom. After all, it’s not obvious that full power implies willing everything that is so. So it still might be that one who has full power suffers something unwillingly, not in the sense that it happens contrary to what he wills, but in the absence of any willing on his part concerning the matter.
Well, that’s enough on ch.16. Next is ch.17.