Religious Studies 16 (1):15-27 (1980)

Al Martinich
University of Texas at Austin
It has often been charged that the doctrine of papal infallibility is either false or incoherent. These charges stem, I believe, from a misunderstanding of the logical character of infallible papal utterances, a misunderstanding shared alike by friends and foes of the doctrine. In this paper, I shall argue that the doctrine is both coherent and correct. I devote section I to uncovering some of the sources of this misunderstanding and thereby defending what might be called my negative thesis, namely, that infallible papal utterances are not statements. In section II, I continue defending my negative thesis, not now as an end in itself, but rather as a means of advancing my positive thesis that infallible papal utterances are declarations and have the same logic as other declarations. The latter thesis requires a discussion of the difference between statements and declarations. Section III contains a formal speech act analysis of successful and non-defective statements and declarations with some additional explanatory notes. In section IV, I speak rather generally about the task of philosophical theology in the light of the results and procedures of sections I–III
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500011938
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