God, Supernatural Kinds, and the Incarnation: THOMAS D. SENOR

Religious Studies 27 (3):353-370 (1991)

Thomas Senor
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Thinking about God often leads to thinking about ‘God’. And it has never been completely clear how best to understand this little English word. Traditionally, ‘God’ has been taken to be either a description or a name. However, a third option has recently captured the attention of philosophical theologians. It is claimed that just as one should think of, say, ‘humanity’ as a kind term, so one should think of ‘God’, or perhaps ‘divinity’, as a kind term. But given the tight link between semantics and metaphysics, if one is tempted to understand ‘humanity’ or ‘divinity’ as kind terms, then one will naturally begin to think of humanity and divinity as kinds. Characterizing divinity this way, a primary task of philosophical theology is to give a characterization of the divine kind-essence. In this paper, I want to consider the claim that divinity is profitably construed as a kind-essence, and argue that the way that this has typically been understood is not altogether adequate. I shall then present and develop an alternative understanding of this kind-essence approach that takes the analogy of `supernatural kinds’ and natural kinds much more seriously. I will conclude by considering some objections
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500021041
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