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10/02/2018 10:27 pm  #61


Re: The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity

Anyway, I just popped in for a second to find out what "is" meant in your earlier, Vallicella-like polyad. (I figured either you would have a reply, in which case I could think about it in the meantime before coming back to this discussion, or you wouldn't, in which case you could. Maybe next time just lead with the position you actually think is true, haha.)

 

10/03/2018 1:36 am  #62


Re: The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity

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 each divine Person is absolutely simple.

There are two basic ways to unpack the meaning of the "as", those of the Dominican (Thomistic) and of the Franciscan theological traditions. In fact, the expression is already assuming the Franciscan tradition, as a Thomist would probably not say "the divine essence as Paternity" but just "Subsistent Paternity".  In the Franciscan tradition, very briefly, it means that each divine Person is the divine essence in one of three irreducibly distinct ways, the way that each Person originates (from another Person/s) or does not originate, which determines the way in which He emanates (another Person/s) or does not emanate [1]. (I wrote an introduction to this subject in this post. Bibliography on each tradition of trinitarian theology can be found at the bottom of this post for the Dominican and in this post for the Franciscan.)

Regarding the "strictly identical" issue, it should be clear by now that the identity of Person and essence in trinitarian doctrine is in a qualified way which precludes transitivity. If you want to articulate that qualification as Aquinas does in ST I, q. 28, a. 3, ad 1 (identical "secundum rem" but not "secundum rationem"), fine. If you want to articulate it by the different modes of Being as in the Franciscan school, fine.

Finally, if by "distinguished from each other in some non-numerical way" you mean that the three Persons are not distinguished from each Other in the same way as three horses are, that is most obviously the case, since otherwise trinitarianism would be just tritheism. To be frank, I find it quite discouraging that we are still dealing with such a basic issue (i.e., that the three Persons are numerically the same instance of the divine essence understood as a particular) at this point.

[1] Russell L. Friedman, "Medieval trinitarian theology from the late 13th to the 15th centuries", chapter 14 in Gilles Emery, O.P. and Matthew Levering (ed.), "The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity", Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 198-199;
https://books.google.com/books?id=3Zfs39-Ux7EC

 

Last edited by Johannes (10/03/2018 5:42 pm)

 

10/03/2018 2:09 am  #63


Re: The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity

Johannes wrote:

To be frank, I find it quite discouraging that we are still dealing with such a basic issue at this point.

Have you considered that maybe the problem is on your end?

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. You ignore or refuse to interact with arguments, replies, and terms given, instead simply insisting that “it should be clear by now that the identity of Person and essence in trinitarian doctrine is in a qualified way which precludes transitivity” (which hardly helps when I'm looking for a positive account of how that is the case that avoids the mereological problem) or repeating accounts I've questioned (without reply) or asked for you to clarify, and you write in somewhat obscure, jargony prose (and I'm saying this as someone who reads Kant, Heidegger, and Hegel). 

Now, I confess: I'm being a little bit English when I write that “I just don't understand”. (A lot of English philosophers say this to try to get people to clarify their positions; in North America, it's primarily associated with Peter van Inwagen.) It's not that I don't understand anything you're saying. It's that your position as you've stated it is hopelessly obscure to me. I was also trying to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that I'm just not understanding what you're saying. (I'm curious: Do you think Vallicella and some of the philosophers Tuggy mentions are also just being dense and failing to see what you're saying?)

     Thread Starter
 

10/03/2018 5:18 pm  #64


Re: The Problem of the Trinity and Divine Simplicity

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.
 

 

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