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Theoretical Philosophy » 'What Caused God' and the Ontological Argument - Sins of Thomism » 11/03/2018 2:26 pm

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After having read a recent article (in Spanish) on the ontological argument by a strict-observance Thomistic philosopher, the flaw in modern versions of the argument from Malcolm, Hartshorne and Gödel is quite clear: they confuse logical possibility with physical possibility, or logical necessity with physical necessity, with "physical" used in the scholastic sense of "real" or "actual", not in the modern sense of "material".

It is clear that God cannot (in either the logical or the physical sense of possibility) come to exist, because in that case He would be contingent. Therefore,

- in terms of possibility, even though God's existence is logically possible, if He did not exist his existence would be physically impossible. But physical impossibility does not entail logical impossibility, just as logical possibility does not entail physical possibility.

- in terms of necessity, even though God's nonexistence it not logically necessary, if He did not exist his nonexistence would be physically necessary. But physical necessity does not entail logical necessity, just as logical non-necessity does not entail physical non-necessity.

Religion » On philosophical objections to the Chalcedonian Incarnation doctrine » 11/02/2018 1:16 pm

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Thanks for the heads-up.  I've just posted a comment under this article, linking this thread as my "website".

Religion » Question about the resurrection » 10/29/2018 6:48 pm

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Interestingly, what I wrote in my previous post applies to the very first person hearing an account of the Resurrection: the Apostle Thomas (Jn 20:24-29). Were there rationally apprehensible motives of credibility, i.e. evidence, for Thomas to conclude that the other Apostles were telling him the truth?

The issue can always be framed in terms of the options of the modifed version of Lewis' trilemma: legend, liar, lunatic or Lord.

"Legend" would apply if the other Apostles had said to Thomas: "X and Y told us that Jesus appeared to them". Since what they said was: "We have seen the Lord", it does not apply.

"Liar" meant in this case that the other Apostles had set up a conspiracy in order to dupe Thomas. Since they were the people with whom Thomas had been living for the past two years, to all practical purposes his family, and since they had been gathered as a group by a Teacher Who made a point of telling the truth, the possibility that they had just flatly betrayed Jesus' teaching in order to deceive Thomas (and BTW, for what purpose?) was unthinkable.

"Lunatic" would apply if the other Apostles showed signs of not being in their right minds, e.g. as the result of eating some bad food or of inhaling some strong stuff. But Thomas could (and should) discard this option by just asking the other Apostles some additional questions, both general and specific to Jesus' apparition, and looking at their answers.

Therefore, there were indeed rationally apprehensible motives of credibility, i.e. evidence, for Thomas to conclude that the other Apostles were telling him sincerely the objective truth, and from their testimony to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Religion » Question about the resurrection » 10/29/2018 5:43 pm

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Greg wrote:

I think not. Faith is of things unseen. The evidence is precisely less than compelling.

Maybe not the evidence for the resurrection, but the evidence for at least one previous point in the epistemic chain must be compelling.

Let us take a look at the definition of faith by the Ecumenical Council Vatican I in its Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Filius", ch. 3 "On faith":

"The Catholic Church professes that this faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, is a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the inspiration and assistance of the grace of God, we believe that the things revealed by Him are true, not because the intrinsic truth of the things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived."

Clearly this definition of faith cannot apply to the identification of the medium of divine Revelation, lest the epistemic situation be circular, as a person should have to identify M as the medium through which God reveals by an assent to the truth that "God reveals through M" based on the authority of God who revealed (through M) said truth (i.e. that He reveals through M). Thus, the medium of divine Revelation must be identified on the basis of rationally apprehensible motives of credibility.

The medium of Revelation which must be identified includes two stages:

- the original medium through which God has revealed in the past, and

- the proximate medium that currently holds the "deposit" of what God has revealed through the original medium and, in magisterial paradigms of divine Revelation, provides authoritative identification and interpretation of that Revelation.

Placing it all together in the case of someone listening to an Apostle preach in 50 AD or to Church X (claiming to have apostolic succession) preach in 2018, this person must, first of all, identify the teaching of the Apostle/Church X as the proximate medium of

Religion » What About Catholicism? » 10/13/2018 4:41 pm

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119 wrote:

"Protestantism's arguments against Catholicism are identical to Catholicism's arguments against Judaism;"

Flatly wrong from a factual standpoint, independently from any religious belief or lack thereof.

Protestantism is to Catholicism as Karaite Judaism is to Rabbinic Judaism. It is a question of different paradigms of the proximate medium of divine Revelation.

Rabbinic Judaism & Catholicism: it is a book plus an oral tradition, both interpreted by an authoritative magisterium. (Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy share the Catholic position, differing from it on the identification of the concrete offices who hold magisterial authority.)

Karaite Judaism & Protestantism: It is just a book.

Chit-Chat » I cannot find a way to insert line breaks within a code block. » 10/07/2018 9:24 pm

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seigneur wrote:

A way to do a text-based table would be with pre tags, but since we don't have it, just put it in plain text without tags.

Thanks, that's exactly what I had intended to do and eventually did (two tables in this post). I tried originally to write the tables within code blocks in order to use a monospaced font, but the result obtained using the standard variable-spaced font was acceptable for a forum post.


Religion » The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity » 10/03/2018 5:18 pm

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John West wrote:

Try to see it from my perspective: You've pounced on a two year old conversation when you knew I wouldn't have time to pay proper attention to it.

The only reason why I entered this thread was to answer Evander's 09/26 post.

And when afterwards I posted in reply to subsequent posts of yours, I did that without assumming that you should or would feel obliged to read and reply to those posts of mine in the short term. I was just posting those replies for any potential future reader of the thread. In fact, I was rather surprised that you kept posting in this thread, given that you had said that you did not have time.

So, to make it clear now, I expect no further reply to this.

Chit-Chat » I cannot find a way to insert line breaks within a code block. » 10/03/2018 2:24 pm

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Therefore I cannot use the code block to make a text-based table.


Religion » The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity » 10/03/2018 1:36 am

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John West wrote:

Johannes wrote:

2. "The divine essence" in the definition of each Person is numerically the same and is a particular, not a universal [3], which answers Vallicella's objection to the version of the septad suggested by Fr. Matthew Kirby.

The reason Vallicella does that, I assume, is that the persons, as substances, aren't instantiable by the divine essence,

This statement just does not make sense, since in this subject essence = substance = ousía and person = hypostasis, not ousía.

John West wrote:

but the divine essence, if it's a particular, isn't multiply realizable by the persons.

If by "multiply realizable" you mean "multiply instantiated", of course the divine essence isn't multiply realizable. The divine essence is a particular and each divine Person is that one and only particular according to the corresponding idiomaton or personal property, so that each divine Person is absolutely simple. That is, the divine essence does not and cannot exist in isolation of any of the personal properties, just as the divine intellect does not and cannot exist in isolation of the divine will. The personal properties are most definitely not "accidents" of the divine essence.

John West wrote:

You seem to want to make the persons each absolute accidents of the one divine essence (or I'm going to need you to unpack what you mean by the "as" in "the divine essence 'as' paternity"). This, along with divine simplicity, runs into the earlier problem I was worried about. (I assume that now you're backing off the claim that the paternity property is strictly identical to the common essence and moving to the claim that they're merely numerically identical and that the persons are distinguished from each other in some non-numerical way—qualitatively, perhaps.)

As I said above, I most definitely do NOT want to make the Persons "absolute accidents of the one divine essence", since [u][b]each divine Person is absolutely s

Religion » St. Bonaventure on the Father's innascibility as fontal plenitude » 10/02/2018 6:41 am

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In this post I will try to provide a broader framework to the subject of this thread.

There are two main theological traditions in trinitarian theology, whose main differences are the account of the distinction between the divine Persons and the meaning of the notion of the "innascibility" of the Father. Summarizing the respective lines until their top exponents (where only the last 2 listed figures of each line were actually Franciscan or Dominican) and positions:

Franciscan tradition: Greek Fathers, Richard of Saint Victor (Augustinian), Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure. It posits an emanation account of the distinction between the Persons and understands the Father's innascibility in a positive way as Firstness.

Dominican tradition: St. Augustine, Peter Lombard, St. Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas. It posits a relation account of the distinction between the Persons and understands the Father's innascibility in a purely negative way.

To understand both positions, it is useful to recall some basic notions about relations and their foundation accidents in contingent entities [1].

- A relation in a subject is real if and only if it supervenes on a real accident in that subject that is not a relation.

- The real accident upon which a real relation depends is called the foundation of the relation.

- Relations that are real in both extremes are called mutual relations.

- Relations consequent upon quantity, action or passion are always real in both of the things related, and these accidents are the foundations for all real mutual relations.

- The foundation accident is really different from the ensuing relation.


Adam's relation of paternity to Abel results from his action of begetting Abel.
Action is a real accident. Therefore, the relation of paternity that it gives rise to is a real relation.

Abel's relation of filiation to Adam results from his passion of being begotten by Adam.
Passion is a real accident. Therefore, the relation of filiatio

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