Indexicals and the Trinity: Two Non-Social Models

Journal of Analytic Theology 1:74-94 (2013)
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In recent analytic literature on the Trinity we have seen a variety of "social" models of the Trinity. By contrast there are few "non-­‐social" models. One prominent "non-­‐social" view is Brian Leftow's "Latin Trinity." I argue that the name of Leftow's model is not sufficiently descriptive in light of diverse models within Latin speaking theology. Next, I develop a new "non-­‐social" model that is inspired by Richard of St. Victor's description of a person in conjunction with my appropriating insights about indexicals from David Kaplan and John Perry. I point out that the copula in tokens of statements like, "I am the Father," is an ambiguous term and when used by a certain divine person a different proposition is affirmed. Central to this model is the claim that the copula bears the "is of identity" and the "is of numerical sameness without identity." Further, I show that Leftow's model employs two concepts of "person," a Lockean one and a Boethian one, and mine employs Richard of St. Victor's. I describe Leftow's model as a "hard non-­‐social" model and mine as a "soft non-­‐social" model that is nearer to some social models. I conclude that Leftow's model is not the lone candidate among "non-­‐social" models and that the variety of "non-­‐social" models has yet to be exhausted.

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Scott M. Williams
University of North Carolina, Asheville


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