Dormant Dispositions, Agent Value, and the Trinity

Samuel R Lebens, Dale Tuggy


In this paper we argue that the moral value of an agent is determined solely by their dispositions to act intentionally and freely. We then put this conclusion to work. It resolves a putative moral paradox first posed by Saul Smilansky, and it undermines a prominent line of argument for a variety of Trinitarian theology. Finally, we derive our conclusion about the moral worth of agents not only from our initial series of thought experiments, but also from Abrahamic theism itself. This means that Smilansky’s paradox can only possibly be rehabilitated by an atheist, and that the aforementioned line of argumentation for the Trinity is radically self-undermining, since it relies upon the denial of a corollary of Abrahamic theism.

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The Journal of Analytic Theology is a publication of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

ISSN 2330-2380 (online)