Thursday, June 13, 2019

The demon-puppet objection

i) It's hard to make sense of Dale's analogy. Unless you're a physicalist, a body without a soul is a corpse. If a demon takes possession of a fresh corpse, then it's merely piloting a human body. The combination isn't a human being. But from the standpoint of a Cartesian dualist, a body without a soul isn't a human being anyway, whether or not the body happens to be co-opted by a demon. So the demon part of the analogy is superfluous. 

ii) At best the analogy would only apply to Apollinarian Christology. On that view, one could indeed say the Son is merely piloting a human body. The combination isn't a human nature. But so what? W. L. Craig excepted, most Christians reject Apollinarian Christology. 

iii) Of course, the Incarnation isn't supposed to be reducible to a human nature. That's a necessary but insufficient condition. The combination isn't supposed to be just a human nature, but a union of two natures. 

iv) So Dale then has to stipulate that the demon deactivates the soul. Okay, it's his thought-experiment, so he can tweak it however he pleases. If the soul is deactivated, then the demon is merely piloting a body. The combination isn't functionally human. But a body with a deactivated soul wouldn't be a human being anyway. Demonic possession doesn't add anything in that respect. 

v) More to the point, the Incarnation doesn't deactivate the soul. In the Incarnation, the soul is fully functional. A union of the Son with an intact soul and body. 

So his thought-experiment is hopelessly confused. Rather than illustrating the Incarnation, his thought-experiment illustrates Dale's intellectual impediments as a philosopher. He's just not up to the challenge. 

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