2008 EPS Papers (Grace)

November 21, 2008
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Justin Grace

The Text & God: Is ‘God’ a Proper Name or Is ‘God’ Analogous with ‘Water’

Abstract: In the first part of this paper I argue that ‘God’ is not a proper name, rather ‘God’ is a general term. I argue that context determines whether ‘God’ functions semantically as a mass term (similar to that of ‘water’) or a count noun. However, ‘God’ can also function as a count noun, i.e. the second occurrence of ‘God’ in the following: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” In the second part of this paper I explain what ‘God’ refers to if ‘God’ is a general term. The semantic content of general terms are the species or the substance that a natural kind k designates. If mass terms designate a substance, e.g. the semantic content of ‘water’ is H2O (and ‘God’ also functions as a mass term such as water), then ‘God’ refers to the divine substance, namely The Triune God.