Covers topics in the metaphysics of the Trinity, Incarnation, and personal identity.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Reply to Bill on the Trinity and Statue/Lump Analogy

This is a comment I posted on the Maverick Philosopher in reply to his reply to my message of a similar title below:

1. It is not clear to me that a statue cannot exist without the lump of marble that constitutes it. Suppose an insane and envious artist attacks Michelangelo's David, chipping away at one of the feet. If the statue exists in the first place, it strictly continues to exist, but strictly there is a different lump that constitutes it.

2. One may gather from what I said that I am rather sympathetic with the views of those who say that, though there may be fundamental particles arranged statue-wise, those particles do not compose anything. Saying such things invites blank stares. But less controversial is the claim that there cannot be coinciding objects. I endorse the uniqueness of composition that says it never happens that the same things have two different fusions. So suppose there are fundamental particles arranged statue-wise and lump-wise. I say that those particles do not compose more than one thing at that time. So either the statue and the lump are identical to each other or we must bid a fond farewell to the existence of one or the other or, of course, both.

3. What's a state? Many of my further claims that whatever a statue is, it is not a state depend on some answer to the question. If events are changes in or among substances and states are unchanges in or among substances, then I stand by what I said. If states are the truthmakers of true non-essential simple predications, then I also stand by what I said. A trope or a state of affairs does not have a shape, size, or mass.

4. "If there is a statue that a lump of matter constitutes at a time, there is an organism that a lump of matter constitutes at a time, but an organism is not a state of a lump of matter, so why think a statue is a state of a lump of matter?" My statement here is overly condensed. I'm saying this. If you accept an ontology where there are statues and numerically distinct lumps of matter that constitute such, then you should also accept an ontology where there are organisms and numerically distinct lumps of matter that constitute such. But if so and there is some analogy between the relation of statue to lump and the relation of organism to lump, then both or neither statues and organisms are states of their respective lumps. And even what I am saying is now is rather condensed!

5. Brian Leftow gave an excellent seminar on the doctrine of divine simplicity, saying that the claim says there is one thing in God in virtue of which every intrinsic predication of God is true. One problem that came up is whether if God is simple in this sense, he can have distinct concepts of every kind of being he might create.