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.


  1. trinities - The Cerberus analogy revisited (Dale)
    April 30, 2008 @ 3:29 am

    […] vs. “No, clearly three turtles with overlapping bodies”. I sided with Dan, citing good old Eng and Chang, among other […]

  2. Robert Roberg
    July 30, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

    Snyder is doing us a great service by pulling on this string. The Reformation is far from over and when you pull on this string the Trinity unravels and behind it you see Plato, not Jesus.

    When Jesus rose from the grave he told Mary “I go to my God and your God” . They both had a god. Now God cannot have a God, so Jesus could not be God and have a God.

    1 Cor 8:6 says it so well:
    “But for us there is one God, the father.”

    Robert Roberg
    Gainesville FL

  3. Joseph Jedwab
    June 13, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    Thanks for the replies Dale. Here are more.

    On 3: By ‘life’ I meant a biological life, not a mental life. I think our grip on number of lives is better than our grip on number of events. Even if we take an event to be a thing having a property and say that the event occurs iff the thing has the property, it needn’t make the account circular. Particles compose an organism. The joint activity of the constituent particles make the life-event of the organism. So we understand the life in terms of events that involve each of the particles, not in terms of events that involve the organism. Such lives will have borderline cases. When we see what goes on in metamorphosis, we might not know whether to count the caterpillar and butterfly as one organism or two. But there are non-borderline cases. I assume in Eng and Chang’s case, we start out with two zygotes or perhaps even two embryos that partially fuse at some point. Also Peter van Inwagen and Eric Olson would say we can count human organisms by organs of maintenance, brain stems. If so, since Eng and Chang have two brain stems, they are two human organisms. If this is right, just say in Cerberus’ case, we start out with one zygote, then one embryo, and then there’s one brain stem, but three organs of thought, three cerebrums. If materialism were true, this might be all there is to say about what human persons are.

    On 5: It does seem a bit ad hoc to distinguish a rational substance and person by identity-conditions. But note that this is a standard move in some circles: e.g. coincidentalists who say I’m not an organism or body, but such constitutes me, and the organism or body now has the mental properties I do, should say the organism or body is a mental subject as it has mental properties and is rational as it has the same mental properties I do and I’m rational, but it lacks the identity conditions to qualify as the object of first-person-singular reference. Also many who believe I have temporal parts and so I think now in virtue of a temporal part that exists and thinks now should say similar.

  4. Dale
    June 12, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

    Nice work, Joseph. Thanks for your thoughts. Here are some back.

    re: 3 – that “sameness of life” criterion is slippery, IMHO. A life is an event. But what makes an event one event? Same thing and property? The first seems to make it circular as a criterion of identity. In any case, I don’t see why Eng and Chang would have two lives, and Cerberus only one. If you focus on the biological, then both perhaps have one. If you throw in the mental, then it’s two and three, right?

    re 4: I think this is a friendly suggestion for revision. Notice how he downplays the import of “supports”. (104) I don’t know that M&C believe in constitution…

    re 5: This would require us to distinguish between a rational substance and a person. MAYBE that’d work…

  5. Joseph Jedwab
    June 11, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

    Dear Dale,

    I liked Howard-Snyder’s paper a lot. I thought it very clear and thorough. I’ll try to develop some replies on behalf of Moreland and Craig (M&C)

    1. It’s odd to be sure if, though we are persons and souls, God is a soul but not a person and the divine Persons are persons but not souls. I think it best for M&C to say that, say, I’m not my soul but rather my soul, in virtue of having a rational faculty, constitutes me. Then if, perhaps per impossibile, my soul lost its rational faculty, it would cease to constitute me and I’d cease to be. Interestingly, Richard Swinburne is committed to a similar view because he says that we embodied persons are composites of souls and bodies but could exist without our bodies in which case our souls alone, which of course continue to be distinct from us, would constitute us.

    2. I think Howard-Snyder’s right about why the divine Persons are divine: because they have divine properties (e.g. omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence). M&C should say both God and the divine Persons have the divine properties: each is a divine subject of some kind. But God and the divine Persons aren’t all persons because God doesn’t have the right identity-conditions to be a Person: a subject is a person only if it has one mind and having three minds disqualifies one.

    3. I agree Chang and Eng are two conjoined humans. But this is a bit unfair to M&C. Cerberus is supposed to be one dog with three dog heads. Assume materialism and so that humans and dogs are wholly material biological organisms. Plausibly, the identity-conditions of such organisms consists in sameness of life. Now it could be that there was a naturally occurring organism that had one life but three heads with brains. There’s only one substance that has mental properties here because there’s one life. Presumably, Chang and Eng each has his own life, which is why each would continue if they were separated. But Cerberus is one organism with one life.

    4. I read ‘supports’ as ‘constitutes’. This is as intelligible as the concept of constitution itself. But we should make one qualification here. One composite constitutes another if there are parts that compose each. This doesn’t hold for simples, as they lack parts. I think M&C would have to take the concept of constitution as primitive if it’s to apply to simples. But the concept would be none the worse for that.

    5. There could be a univocal sense of ‘monotheism’ here. M&C should say a God is any divine rational substance (but God is not a person, because he lacks the right identity-conditions to be a person, see 2 above). Then Jews and Muslims agree there’s one God in that sense. It would be open for such a one to say that God constitutes one person but God is distinct from that divine Person. But this no doubt would be a perverse view.

    6. I should say that I’m trying to develop the best reply for M&C. But I can’t say I endorse any of this.



  6. trinities - Trinity Monotheism Part 8: Bill Fires Back, Part 2
    June 10, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    […] his attack, Dan Howard-Snyder goes through four different things one might have in mind by saying there are […]

  7. trinities - Trinity Monotheism part 7: Bill fires back, part 1
    June 7, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

    […] Last time we looked at Daniel Howard-Snyder’s published attack on Moreland’s and Craig’s Trinity theory they call “Trinity Monotheism“. Bill Craig, never one to duck a fight, fired back. (”Trinity Monotheism Once More,” Philosophia Christi 8:1, 2006, 101-13) […]