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Sophia

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 45–55 | Cite as

A trinity on a Trinity on a Trinity

  • John Zeis
Article

Keywords

Natural Kind Relative Identity Open Sentence Distinct Person Substitution Instance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. 1.
    Geach,Three Philosophers (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1961), p. Richard Cartwright, “On the Logical Problem of the Trinity”,Philosophical Essays (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. 118.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    David Wiggins,Sameness and Substance (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), pp.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In his article, “The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Logic of Relative Identity”Religious Studies 25 pp. 141–152, James Cain defends the logic of the Trinity by utilizing Geach’s thesis of the relativity of identity. The primary significance of Cain’s analysis is that he provides rules of inference for the “qua” construction, which Wiggins, inSameness and Substance, claimed were lacking. I think that Cain has shown Wiggins to be wrong. I will also be appealing to the thesis of relative identity and it seems to me that my analysis is consistent with the results which Cain produced. Peter Van Inwagen also defends the logic of the Trinity using relative identity in his article, “And Yet There Are Not Three Gods But One God,” in Thomas Morris (ed.)Philosophy and the Christian Faith (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cartwright,.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anscombe and Geach, p. 118. Geach defends the notion of relative identity inLogic Matters (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), pp. 238–249. Geach defends the notion of relative identity inLogic Matters (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), pp.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cartwright, p. 196.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ibid. p. 194.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wiggins, p. 18.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Saint Thomas Aquinas,Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 26.1.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See Saint Augustine,De Trinitate, Book IX, Chapter IV and Boethius,De Trinitate, Chapter VI.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aquinas,Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 26.5.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wiggins,, p. 4.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cartwright, p. 196.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    The example is actually an exploitation of Cartwright’s suggestion of how one counts novels. “We assign the number 1 to some novel on the shelf and to whatever novel on the shelf is the same novel; if, after this, no novel on the shelf remains unnumbered, there is exactly one novel on the shelf.” p. 194. And in hisFrege: Philosophy of Language, (London: Duckworth, 1973) Michael Dummett uses the same example in the context of another discussion. (p. 79f) What is confusing is that Dummett nonetheless rejects the relativistic view of identity.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    See Cain’s article (cited in n. 4 James Cain defends the logic of the Trinity by utilizing Geach’s thesis of the relativity of identity. The primary significance of Cain’s analysis is that he provides rules of inference for the “qua” construction, which Wiggins, inSameness and Substance, claimed were lacking. I think that Cain has shown Wiggins to be wrong. I will also be appealing to the thesis of relative identity and it seems to me that my analysis is consistent with the results which Cain produced. Peter Van Inwagen also defends the logic of the Trinity using relative identity in his article, “And Yet There Are Not Three Gods But One God,” above) for a development of this position.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Karl Rahner, in his bookThe Trinity (New York: Herder and Herder, 1970) has expressed doubts about the suitability of the concept as applied to the Trinity. His reservation is based on his concern that in the modern age, the concept carries with it a connotation of distinct centers of consciousness in the Trinity, which he thinks is inconsistent with orthodoxy. I would agree that if being distinct centers of consciousness entailed there being separate acts of existence which are not consubstantial, the notion would indeed be unorthodox. But i do not think that that is entailed.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Professor Peter Geach, James Cain and members of the Western New York American Catholic Philosophical Association offered helpful suggestions on an earlier draft of this paper. I am grateful to them for their encouragement and assistance. This paper was also read at the Society of Christian Philosophers’ Midwestern Regional Meeting in October of 1992. I would like to thank the participants of that meeting, especially Lynn Baker, who suggested I consider the type/token objection, and Gary Mar for his many helpful comments.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer SBM B.V. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Zeis
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of PhilosophyCansius CollegeBuffalo

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