Transubstantiation, Tropes and Truthmakers



Date of this version


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philosophical theology, Catholic dogma, transubstantiation, St. Thomas Aquinas


This article addresses a difficult case at the intersection of philosophical theology and truthmaker theory. I show that three views, together, lead to difficulties in providing truthmakers for truths of contingent predication, such as that the bread is white. These three views are: the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation, a standard truthmaker theory, and a trope (or accident) view of properties. I present and explain each of these three views, at each step noting their connections to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. After presenting the three views, I show why they entail a difficulty for providing truthmakers for truths of contingent predication, drawing on two cases that are not impossible, for all we know. I then present four ways that one can respond to this difficulty, afterward noting some shortcomings of those responses.

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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Citation/Other Information

Pawl, T.J. (2012). Transubstantiation, tropes and truthmakers. The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 86(1), 71-96.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.