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Perichoresis, or “mutual indwelling,” is a crucial concept in Trinitarian theology. But the philosophical underpinnings of the concept are puzzling. According to ordinary conceptions of “indwelling” or “being in,” it is incoherent to think that two entities could be in each other. In this paper, I propose a mereological way of understanding “being in,” by analogy with standard examples in contemporary metaphysics. I argue that this proposal does not conflict with the doctrine of divine simplicity, but instead affirms it. I conclude by discussing how mutual indwelling relates to the concepts of unity (modal inseparability) and identity (qualitative indiscernibility).
Cotnoir , A J 2017 , ' Mutual Indwelling ' Faith and Philosophy , vol 34 , no. 2 , pp. 123-151 . DOI: 10.5840/faithphil201741179
Faith and Philosophy
© 2017 Society of Christian Philosophers. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.5840/faithphil201741179
Work on this article was generously supported in the form of a Summer Stipend by the Classical Theism Project at the University of St. Thomas (MN) and the John Templeton Foundation.
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