Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ares redivivus

Apostate Dale Tuggy's philosophical objection to the Trinity is that it (allegedly) violates the law of identity. One issue this raises is how to define identity. For instance, I've argued that if A and B can be put into point-by-point correspondence, then that's a rigorous definition of identity. However, reflection symmetries meet that condition, yet reflection symmetries remain distinguishable by virtue of chirality. 

But another issue is whether ancient people operated with a stringent definition of identity. Let's take hypothetical example.  In paganism, the gods are not indestructible. One god can kill another god. In that event, he ceases to exist. No more body. No more consciousness. Yet it's possible to recreate him through sorcery. 

Suppose Zeus gets really miffed with Ares and zaps him out of existence, but Hera brings him back through some magic ritual. There's a gap in his existence: from existence to nonexistence to reexistence. Would pagans regard Ares redivivus as one and the same individual? While some metaphysicians might balk, I have no reason to think ordinary ancient people would regard Ares redivivus as a different individual from his former self. 


  1. Yet again: the Trinity is not one theory, but rather is a set of standard sentences which demand interpretation. Every single Trinity theory which Christian philosophers have put forth in recent times, is built from the ground-up to not run into problems with this concept of numerical identity.

    "I've argued that if A and B can be put into point-by-point correspondence, then that's a rigorous definition of identity."

    That's not identity that you have in mind there. It sounds like you are just thinking of qualitative identity, which is to similarity.

    I'm quite sure that you have the concept, as all human beings do, but I think this issue of the Trinity is just tripping you up when it comes to putting your finger on it. This post, possibly, will help. That is, IF you're willing to think about it.

    1. Dale, how is exhaustive one-to-one correspondence not identity?

    2. Dale, there are competing theories regarding just about every locus in systematic theology, viz. God's relation to time and space, simplicity, impassibility, the nature of divine providence, nature of omniscience and omnipotence, determinism/freewill theism, creation/evolution, nature of miracles, original sin, covenant theology, nature of the atonement, nature of justification and regeneration, the sacraments, monergism/synergism, millennial views, nature of the final state.

      The fact that there are different models of the Trinity and Incarnation casts no doubt on the factuality of the Trinity and the Incarnation. That objection confuses exegetical/systematic theology with philosophical theology.

    3. Your diversionary tactics deflect attention away from the fact that you said nothing to refute my post.

  2. Exhaustive one-to-one correspondence is compatible with numerically two indiscernible things. The concept of identity implies the indiscernibility of identicals, but it is not obviously require the identity of indiscernibles. Leibniz, I think, believed both, but most philosophers now accept only the first as an obvious, necessary truth.

    "The fact that there are different models of the Trinity and Incarnation casts no doubt on the factuality of the Trinity and the Incarnation."

    Only in this, that many try to get a lot of mileage about an imagined universal agreement (or nearly so) here - as if this is what The Tradition says, in the way it says that Jesus was raised bodily. But unfortunately, interpretations of Trinity language differ across time, and this verbal agreement didn't even exist before the late 4th c., and nowadays, the experts disagree on what it all means. Moreover, the laity are thoroughly, consistently confused about it. These are indisputable facts, and so apologetic gassing about "the Trinity" - suggesting that this is one *doctrine* - needs to stop. It's unthinking, and sometimes willfully ignorant propaganda. If someone has thoughtfully read this
    or this
    or this
    or this
    or this:
    and then sees you gassing about "the Trinity," with no significant clarification on what that means, they will pass you by as a mere polemicist who has not done his homework.

    Me, I'm more patient.

    "diversionay tactics" LOL

    You suppose that "ancient people" didn't have this concept; this goes hand in hand with your eagerness to see a controversial theory here. But what we express by = in modern logics is a fundamental, unanalyzable concept: this may help, if you actually follow through and read the chapter: If you can understand claims like, "Mark Twain just is Sam Clemens," or "Trump is the only one in the room with bad hair, " you have and use the concept.

    Ancient people? They found it easy to understand that Abram and Abraham were the same man (and so, the same being). Ergo, they had and used this concept.

    Another place to look is in any standard intro to logic book, when it gets to the topics of universal and existential quantification. Really, this is about as controversial as that this is a valid argument:

    A and B
    Therefore, A.