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.

7 Comments

  1. trinities - Swinburne’s Social Trinitarian Theory, Part 1
    February 28, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

    […] Next time: Why there are three dudes on the cover of The Christian God. Share: […]

  2. trinities - Swinburne’s Social Trinitarian Theory, Part 3 - functional monotheism
    August 29, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

    […] Last time we looked at Swinbure’s suggested reading of the creeds. They can’t he says, be charitably read as holding that in the same sense there’s only one divinity, and that there’s three. Swinburne comes down on the side of three. Like all social trinitarians, he’s attracted to a vision of the Trinity as being a loving community, three eternal and perfect, spirits, three selves, enjoying one another’s company, living in communion with one another, and working together in all they do. In short, he wants to say there are personal relationships internal to God – and this implies that there are persons – subjects of experience, thought, and action – in God. Further, like many readers of the New Testament, he realizes that we need a theory that makes it possible for Jesus and his Father to, if I can put it this way, be friends. Jesus loves, worships and obeys the Father, and the Father hold him as the apple of his eye, his beloved Son, in whom he is well-pleased. He sees that this is sacrified, once we give into S-modalism, as many theologians are wont to do. Despite what the United Pentecostals say, it just won’t fly to think of this loving relationship between the Father and Son as one self, one person sort of talking to himself, patting himself on the back, as it were. […]

  3. Joseph Jedwab
    August 17, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

    Dear Dale,

    Let me put it more simply. It’s the same old problem that it seems these three claims are inconsistent:

    (1) There’s one God
    (2) There are three divine individuals
    (3) Every divine individual is God

    The only new thing is the idea that the only way to solve this (assuming we do nothing fancy with identity, counting, or predication) is to invoke ambiguity in the predicate ‘God’. This gives us for each claim some reading on which it’s true. But I just don’t know that we want to allow that, e.g. there’s a sense of ‘God’ in which there are three Gods or there’s a sense of ‘God’ in which no divine individual is God. That’s all.

    Best,

    Joseph

  4. Dale
    August 17, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

    Hey Joseph,

    re: 1 – Good point. I think charity is a big consideration for him, but he may well appeal directly to the tradition and its counting three hypostases.

    “Put these two questions together.” Arrrgh! Too many negatives! 🙂 You forced me to try to write down a logical analysis, but that didn’t help. Cand you spell this out in terms of an inconsistent triad or something?

    About Swinburne’s conception of a “God” – there’s certainly trouble there… I’ll hold off till later in the series.

  5. trinities - Swinburne’s Social Trinitarian Theory, Part 3 - functional monotheism
    August 16, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

    […] Last time we looked at Swinbure’s suggested reading of the creeds. They can’t, he says, be charitably read as holding that there’s only one divinity, and in the same sense that there’s three. Swinburne comes down on the side of three. Like all social trinitarians, he’s attracted to a vision of the Trinity as a perfect, loving community, three eternal and perfect, spirits, three selves, enjoying one another’s company, living in communion with one another, and working together in all they do. In short, he wants to say there are personal relationships internal to God – and this implies that there are persons – subjects of experience, thought, and action – in God. Further, like many readers of the New Testament, he realizes that we need a theory that makes it possible for Jesus and his Father to, if I can put it this way, be friends. Jesus loves, worships and obeys the Father, and the Father hold him as the apple of his eye, his beloved Son, in whom he is well-pleased. He sees that this is sacrified, once we give into Son-modalism, as many theologians are wont to do. Despite what the United Pentecostals say, it just won’t fly to think of this loving relationship between the Father and Son as one self, one person sort of talking to himself, patting himself on the back, as it were. […]

  6. Brandon Watson
    August 13, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

    Yes, some uber-sophisticates (cough… Brandon… cough) will challenge this sort of inference, but not to worry – just about every obvious necessary truth (and every properly basic belief) has been so challenged. Carry on, using the mind God gave you.

    🙂

    Actually I wouldn’t reject that particular inference; I would reject the inference underlying the objection to it. Although I don’t like the term ‘individual’, since I think the only thing it could mean in such an inference is “something counted as one,” which is a weaker sense than we usually use the term for, and weaker than Swinburne apparently intends.

  7. Joseph Jedwab
    August 13, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

    Dear Dale,

    Here are four quick points.

    1. One needn’t use the indiscernibility of identicals. The Cappadocians standardized trinitarian terminology, saying the Father, Son, and Spirit are ‘three hypostaseis with one ousia’. Their pro-Nicene theology and terminology was a key influence on the first council of Constantinople: the second ecumenical council. The way they interpret these terms strongly suggests that the divine Persons are three divine individuals who share one divine nature.

    2. There’s reason to think that a God is any divine substance and that a divine substance is any substance that has the divine properties and that any substance is an independent individual, in the sense of an individual that can exist without anything that isn’t part of it. In this sense, there’s one God, the collective whose members are all and only the divine individuals. But in this sense, no divine individual is (a) God. Question: do we want there to be any sense in which no divine individual is a God?

    3. This means Swinburne must make a distinction between a divine individual and a God. Indeed, on his view, nothing is both. And he must attribute ambiguity to the Athanasian Creed when it says ‘the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three gods but there is one God’. This must mean, on his take, each of Father, Son, and Spirit is a divine individual (but not an independent divine being), yet there aren’t three independent divine beings (but there are three divine individuals) but there’s one independent divine being (but there’s not only one divine individual). If so, the claims ‘there’s one God’ and ‘there’re three gods’ are ambiguous. On one reading, (that of a God is an independent divine being) for him, the first is true and the second false. And on another reading, (that of a God is a divine individual) for him, the first is false and the second true. Question: do we want there to be any reading of these claims where the first is false and the second true?

    4. Put these two questions together. If we want it to be that every divine individual is God and there’s one God and we want it to be that there’s no sense in which no divine divine individual is (a) God and no sense in which there’s not only one God, can we have what we want? It’s hard to see how. Perhaps given what we want, ambiguity is inevitable. Whose we? Well, we are those who commit to at least the first ecumenical council.

    Best,

    Joseph