Day: April 29, 2009

the Trinity and the “network” mistake


In Save the World on Your Own Time Stanley Fish highlights something he calls the “network” mistake (p 100) — ‘the mistake of thinking that because an entity or practice has a form only in a network of relations, it is incoherent to speak of its properties, or of the boundaries that separate and distinguish it from other nodal points in the network. Since identity is network-dependent, the reasoning goes, nothing can be spoken of or examined as if it were freestanding and discrete.’

He goes on to explain why this is a mistake (pp 100-101):

Yes, everything is finally interconnected and has a diacritical rather than a substantive existence (and is therefore, in some sense, not identical with itself), but it doesn’t follow that there is nothing distinctive to say about “it”, any more than it would follow that because the heart and lungs and spinal cord are what they are by virtue of the system of which they are components, they perform no isolable function, display not special characteristics, obey no special laws, and cannot be studied in their own right.

What strikes me is how necessary it is to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this point when it comes to our thinking about the Trinity. Continue reading