Thursday, September 17, 2015


According to apostate Dale Tuggy, the Trinity is false because it violates the "law of identity" or Leibniz's law. That's what his objection to the Trinity always comes back to.

He defines numerical identity by reference to Leibniz's law (which he reformulates). And he considers numerical identity to be a precondition of personal identity. 

Is personal identity consonant with organ transplantation? Suppose I have a heart transplant. Am I still the same individual? It's no longer my heart. Someone else's heart is keeping me alive. 

Is personal identity consonant with prosthetics? Suppose I have knee-replacement surgery. I now have an artificial joint. Am I still the same individual? 

Suppose you kept replacing my organs and body parts with donated organs or prosthetics. Would I still be the same individual? Is there a threshold beyond which I'd cease to be the same individual? 

Suppose you transplanted my brain into the body of an android. Would still I be the same individual? 

Suppose you transplanted my (male) brain into a female body. Would I still be the same individual?

Suppose you transplanted my brain into the body of a dolphin. Would I still be the same individual? 

Is my body incidental to my core identity? What's the core of my core identity? That's especially dicey if you're a physicalist. 

One way to finesse the conundrum is to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. There are, however, some problems with that distinction:

i) It's not a distinction that derives from Leibniz's law. Rather, it modifies Leibniz's law. 

ii) But if we grant that distinction, why can't we apply it to the Trinity? 

Why is having a human brain inside an android body or dolphin body consonant with numerical identity, but having three "persons" or "modes of consciousness" disconsonant with numerical identity? 

What makes a body an extrinsic property that's compatible with the same individual, but distinct personhood an intrinsic property that's incompatible with the same individual (i.e. one and only God)? 

iii) This also goes to ambiguities regarding the nature of intrinsically or extrinsically. If, according to David Lewis, duplicates never differ with respect to their intrinsic properties, then the distinction between Father, Son, and Spirit is an extrinsic property. 

Suppose we modeled the Trinity on enantiomerism (or enantiomorphism). Suppose we regard the members of the Trinity as enantiomers. They mirror each other in every respect, yet they are nonsuperimposable. 

Is that in tension with numerical identity? But why not consider superimposability an extrinsic property? What's the criterion? 


  1. If Dale could explain God then he would be God.

  2. "the Trinity is false because it violates the "law of identity" or Leibniz's law. That's what his objection to the Trinity always comes back to"

    Utter and total lack of understanding. My objections are that "the" Trinity doctrine - or rather, the many competing theories that trinitarians hold as interpretations of the standard formulas - are (1) not implied by the Bible, (2) not the best explanation of the sum total of what the Bible says and doesn't say, (3) inconsistent with what is taught, explicitly and implicitly in the Bible. Sometimes also I make this point: (4) assent to the standard trinitarian formulas is not essential to Christianity because the essence of Christian teaching is stated in the NT and doesn't include anything like those, and because Christian existed before the second half of the 4th c, which is when those formulas were first written and then made mandatory by (some of) the catholic bishops and the emperor.

    Steve the amateur metaphysician can confusedly try to kick up a duststorm about the indiscernibility of identicals and the concept of identity, but these are and will always be tools that we all use in interpreting any text, like 1+1=2, or the concept of similarity.

    About this new chemical analogy for the Trinity, I don't see what it amounts to, based on the little Steve offers. It doesn't touch my points (1)-(4), though.


    1. Your token appeal to Scripture is conditioned by your application of Leibniz's law. That's your hermeneutical yardstick.

      In fact you admit that in your second paragraph. In reality, you subordinate points 1-4 to Leibniz's law. That's the controlling paradigm.

      Hence, it's deceptive for you to appeal to points 1-4, as if they have any independent or prior force in your argument. They are the caboose, while Leibniz's law is the choo choo.

      Moreover, you are now dissembling (nothing new). In the past, when you were challenged for beginning with philosophy rather than exegesis, you defended that priority.

      Furthermore, your comment doesn't begin to refute the argument I present in this post.

      Finally, I've been using the analogy of mirror symmetries for years, including multiple times in my exchanges with you. Your memory is a sieve.

      So thanks for once again demonstrating your systematic ineptitude. You never fail to fail.