Transubstantiation II

In my previous post on transubstantiation, I proposed that the consecrated elements in the Eucharist been seen as “one substance” with the risen Christ in a way analogous to how “the divine and human natures of the Incarnate Word, interrelated as Chalcedon taught, form that one substance or hypostasis which is God the Son himself.” That is an argument from the analogia fidei. On such a proposal, the nature of bread and wine remain in the consecrated elements, just as the human nature of Christ remains undiluted and unmixed by union with his divine nature. But in the long, ensuing discussion, from which I greatly benefited, there emerged two main lines of objection to such a proposal. In this, the second installment of a series I plan for developing my proposal, I shall endeavor to answer those objections.

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Just what is transubstantiation, anyway?

Fr. Al Kimel recently wrote a post that got me thinking about transubstantiation again. Its title is a question: Is Transubstantiation Bodily Enough? The long discussion sparked by that post over at De Cure Animarum stimulated anew my thinking about this topic. As with such questions as “Were you a zygote?“, which Scott addressed in the previous post here, much hinges on how we understand the hoary metaphysical concept of “substance.” As a simple matter of fact, there is no one metaphysical concept of substance that all philosophers, even all Catholic philosophers, agree on; so, the question arises which concept of substance, if any, is best. In order to understand Catholic dogma to the extent it can be understood, some account of substance can and ought to be given; for a certain understanding of substance, however hard to pin down, underlies said dogma. That’s what I want to bring out here.

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Me and My Zygote

Bill Vallicella of Maverick Philosopher has asked for assessments of an argument by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to the effect that zygotes are not substantially the same as the successor entitites that they (apparently) develop into. Bill summarizes the argument as follows:

1. The unicellular zygote is predestined to undergo fission.
2. Whatever undergoes fission ceases to exist at the moment of fission.
Therefore
3. The unicellular zygote will cease to exist at the moment of fission.
4. If a substance S ceases to exist at time t, then no substance S* existing at a time later than t is transtemporally identical to S.
5. The unicellular zygote is a substance.
6. A post-birth human being is a substance.
Therefore
7. No post-birth human being is transtemporally identical to a unicellular zygote.

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