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.

15 Comments

  1. Fortigurn
    June 15, 2010 @ 5:18 am

  2. trinities - SCORING THE BURKE – BOWMAN DEBATE – Final Reflections (DALE)
    June 3, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    […] thrown hard, relatively few low blows – two worthy opponents. Certainly, the fight must be decided on points, as there was no decisive knockout. Both debates are in different ways very impressive, and I […]

  3. Helez
    June 3, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    Dale, I think that if “persons” *are* entities, they can’t be parts either. 🙂 Why can’t the three “persons” be parts if they *aren’t* entities?

    You suggest ontologically distinct “persons”, three selves, being “less than” entities? (A part of me finds this hard to grasp.)

    And I heard some Trinitarians say that God is “three entities in one being,” and yes, if entities aren’t individuals, a “person” can be an entity even if you are an orthodox Trinitarian. (Though I heard the claim “God is truly three persons in one entity” as well.)

    Can’t God be three entities within one entity based on these seven propositions?

  4. Fortigurn
    June 3, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Dale,

    No – to an apparently contradictory doctrine. His point is that this is perfectly reasonable. In my view, it can be argued that it is not.

    His point is that it can’t be reconciled and he’s fine with that. You even pointed this out yourself, when he started trying to use logic, ‘don’t go rationalist on us at this late date’.

  5. Dave Burke
    June 3, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    Dale, thanks for the correction. Very much appreciated.

    About the Westminster confession, which part, Dave, were you thinking of? This?

    VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

    Yes, definitely that clause. And this one:

    IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    That’s the very principle which Bowman deliberately rejected when he arrived at Week 2.

    Also:

    VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

  6. Dave Burke
    June 3, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    Stevet:

    Dale is brilliant so I assumed he was right but I was confused by his assessment of your quotes of Mowinckel, too. I got what you were saying. I didn’t see it as a claim that Mowinckle supported your point of view. Hopefully Dale will clarify this point.

    Thanks, I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  7. Dale
    June 3, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    Helez,

    It’s pretty clear that some lay trinitarians (or, members of trinitarian groups) think of the Three as so many parts of the triune God.

    And that would be one way to take the very ambiguous claim that Jesus is “included in the identity of God”. But given the traditional dance he does re: “person”, I would assume this is not Bowman’s view. If the “persons” aren’t entities, they can’t be parts. He seems to suggest they are ontologically “less than” entities – i.e. modes of entities, or ways an entity (God) is. More on what Bowman thinks in my last post in this series.

  8. Dale
    June 3, 2010 @ 8:38 am

    acknowledged his commitment to an irrational doctrine

    No – to an apparently contradictory doctrine. His point is that this is perfectly reasonable. In my view, it can be argued that it is not.

  9. Dale
    June 3, 2010 @ 8:33 am

    Dave and Stevet – correction made.

    About the Westminster confession, which part, Dave, were you thinking of? This?

    VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

    To my ear, that sounds hard to reconcile with negative mysterianism. Or with the idea that some theological elite understands deep things ordinary Christians cannot. But the positive mysterian thinks we pretty well understand the (apparent) contradiction. e.g. Jesus just is God. God knows everything. There’s at least one thing Jesus doesn’t know. We understand each of the three, and it is because we understand them, that we see they can’t all be true. BUT (says the positive mysterian) you can’t trust human reason. You must instead trust the infallible Word, which teaches all 3 claims.

  10. Helez
    June 3, 2010 @ 8:04 am

    Bowman states: “The only theological position that affirms all seven of the above propositions is the Trinity.”

    But, if God would be one single being, existing in three persons, each being God, though literally being *a part* of God (as in California being America), all seven of Bowman’s propositions can be affirmed as well, right? The “is” in “God is f, s and h” here would indeed be defined as “consists of” or “a whole constituted by”. Though I realize that this is not what Bowman believes, as it contradicts the orthodox understanding of the Trinity, would such reading be better, based on *just* these seven propositions, because it requires a little less believe in (apparent) contradictions and acceptance of incomprehensibility? (Though the differentiation of “a someone” not being “an individual” would remain.)

    Or is this, perhaps, what Bowman actually secretly believes nonetheless, as he claims that ‘Jesus is *included* in the very identity of God’? As in California being included in (the very identity of) America?

    It is hard for me to imagine that Trinitarianism can really be a satisfactorily clarification for some people. Or do they only imagine it is satisfactorily to them?

  11. Fortigurn
    June 3, 2010 @ 3:31 am

    Well as we’ve seen, it’s any port in a storm for Trinitiarians. I’m just satisfied that he came out and acknowledged his commitment to an irrational doctrine.

  12. Dave Burke
    June 3, 2010 @ 2:19 am

    The mysterium escape route is hardly an appropriate one for a man who claims allegiance to the Westminster Confession. If he was Catholic or Orthodox, I’d be cheering him on. But as an evangelical…?

  13. Fortigurn
    June 3, 2010 @ 12:37 am

    Dave, Bowman hasn’t been very careful about following up on your quotes (I corrected him on three of them, and he fell silent). I agree he wasn’t particularly irenic this round, but he has been feeling under a lot of pressure recently, especially having experienced criticism of his arguments from some of his own supporters.

    There’s also the fact that he was frustrated by still having no points by round 6. Since he’s human like the rest of us, the outburst was not surprising. I think he deserved at least half a point just for trying hard though. He has also very usefully made it clear that he’s arguing for belief in positive mysterium, which is helpful. For those who appreciate irrational doctrine, Bowman’s position will certainly be a delight.

  14. Stevet
    June 2, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

    Dave,

    Dale is brilliant so I assumed he was right but I was confused by his assessment of your quotes of Mowinckel, too. I got what you were saying. I didn’t see it as a claim that Mowinckle supported your point of view. Hopefully Dale will clarify this point.

  15. Dave Burke
    June 2, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    Frankly, I found Bowman’s Week 6 argument unnecessarily personal and polemical. His accusations of misrepresentation and misquoting would have more credibility if he actually provided some evidence for them. He also seems to miss the point about my use of sources.

    For example, I specifically mentioned that Mowinckel is a reverend (and therefore a Trinitarian); I did not pretend that he believes exactly the same as I do, and I was not mistaken about his overall position.

    This are my exact words:

    Reverend Sigmund Mowinckel insisted the Jewish conception of predestination and prefiguration must inform our understanding of passages appearing to speak of pre-existence

    I then went on to quote Mowinckel’s description of the Jewish view (which he does not claim as his own), and I quoted him word for word. I did not assert or imply that Mowinckel himself rejects the pre-existence or deity of Christ. So where’s the alleged misquote, and how was I “mistaken about Mowinckel’s overall position”?