The Art of Achievement (Tom Morris)

Morris, Tom V. The Art of Achievement.

Seven Cs: Conception, Confidence, Concentration, Consistency, Commitment, Character, and Capacious Enjoyment

We are all artists. Art is that which transforms what something is. Before you begin on this journey of the Seven Cs, you must first ask, “What do you want?” and then “Is it right for you?” This is partly what the ancients meant by “Know thyself.” This keeps us from chasing the wrong things.

Tom Morris takes us through the fun process of accurate goal-setting.

Thesis: true success involves discovering, developing, and deploying your talents.

Goal setting is a paradox. It frees us by removing distractions. As we pursue the goal, other things on the path take on clearer focus.

The Art of Conception

A “telos” is a target we can shoot at. This is a clear conception of what we want. In order to have clear goals, we need to set them with our self-knowledge in mind. As Morris notes, “Goal setting is an exercise in self-knowledge.”

When we reach a “critical mass” of self-knowledge, we can begin healthy goal-setting. When we pursue these goals, we find more self-knowledge.

Pithy Sayings

“Know your opportunity” (Pittacus, 600 B.C.)
“The only point of ‘freedom from’ is to provide ‘freedom to’” (Morris).
“For it is feeling and force of imagination that makes us eloquent” (Quintillian).
Thales: “What is difficult? To know yourself.” “What is easy? To give other people advice.”
“Stupidity is without anxiety” (Goethe).
“The arrogant person says ‘Look at me!’ The enthusiastic person says, ‘Look at this!’” (Morris)

Desires aren’t the same as fantasies. A fantasy is fleeting. As Morris notes, “A desire is connected to volition, our capacity for choice.” While desire involves the will, it is not a goal. A goal is a commitment of the will. A goal engages the whole person, not just the intellect. Goal setting should also include cultivating supporting desires that will help you reach that goal.

Paradox: Bigger goals mean we will face more difficulties, but with bigger goals it is easier to engage the whole imagination.

Conceiving goals always involves our purpose. If we can’t state what our purpose is, we can’t make a clear goal. The goal must answer the question, “Why am I doing this?” Or rather, you can’t make a clear goal if you can’t answer that question. Specific goals also need a standard of measurement.

There is a difference between “local maximum” and “global maximum.” The former is when you reach your goals, but you still have room for improvement. Too many companies stay at local maximum.

Part 2: The Art of Confidence

If courage is the mean between cowardice and brashness, then confidence is the mean between anxiety and arrogance.

Logic of confidence: power and skill. Just because you have the skill for x doesn’t mean you are skillful at x. Also included in the logic of confidence is capability, or “moral attributes.” If you are facing any problem dealing with your own confidence, consider this checklist:

* Do I have the power to get the job done?
* Do I have the skill necessary to the task?
* Do I have the opportunity to make this happen?
* Do I have the practical knowledge to put this together?
* Do I feel morally right about this?
* Do I have the heart for this project?

A good leader develops the skill for initiating necessary change. Start by making little decisions. This allows your confidence to grow. He gives another checklist for making yourself mentally able to initiate positive change (and this has been later confirmed by neuroscience).

* Articulation (practice speaking your goal and your plan of attack).
* Directed action. Move forward.

The Art of Concentration

The simple answer: hard work. Morris writes: “Hard work, if it is to be productive, must involve a perceptive and focused concentration on exactly what it will take for us to make progress toward our goals.” This puts balance to our big dreams:

“Big Picture Vision” ———————- Bifocal Thinking ———————————Detail Focus

The extremes are at the end. We need to focus along a spectrum of our goals. In Morris’s words, we are “large-scale strategic thinkers” and “small-scale tacticians.”

Attacking Your Goals

1 Problem. Where are we?
2 Ideal. Where do we want to be?
3 How to get there. How can we get there?

It is always good to anticipate difficulties when you plan your goal. Imagining how you will overcome them will also contribute to the goal setting.

Action epistemology: knowledge often comes from action.
Metaphysical luck: luck never produces success. It can only produce opportunities for success.


Making Sense of it All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life

Morris, Thomas V. Making Sense of it All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1992.

As with all of Professor Morris’s books, this one could not be boring even if it tried. Tom Morris gives a lucid account of Pascal’s worldview without its being another exposition of the Pensees.

Pascal is not trying to make an argument for God’s existence. His concern is much deeper. You cannot ignore ultimate concerns. You cannot be indifferent about an object of love. Although this will be a particular focus of his famous “Wager,” it accurately reflects his general outlook. His arguments report “on a connection that has motivational impact” (Morris 24). The form of our behaviors function in a certain context.

Diversion and the “Empty Self

Pascal and Morris address the problem that later psychologists would call “the empty self.” People have a vacuum in their lives and they fill it with diversions. It is only when crises arise that people deal with deep issues, but, as Morris cogently observes, “that’s not usually when we have the clearest heads for figuring things out” (34).

To combat the empty self, Morris, following Pascal, notes three realms: physical, intellectual, and spiritual. “A full, complete human life will encompass, or partake of, all three realms” (37).

The Meaning of Life

After exploring some reasons why people commit suicide, Morris explains how one can find the meaning of life. He begins with what he calls “The Endowment Thesis,” “Something has meaning if and only if it is endowed with meaning or significance by a purposive agent or group of such agents” (56). In other words, “Meaning is never intrinsic; it is always derivative” (57).

Following the Endowment Thesis is the “Control Thesis:” “We can endow with meaning only those things over which we have legitimate control” (59).

Wagering on a Hidden God

The problem with believing in God is not the existence of evil but the fact that God seems so hidden. Why does not God simply give me more proof or evidence? Probably because he knows what I would do with it. Morris writes: “In human development, the paramount importance attaches not just to what we know but to what we become and do. Perfect clarity, the free gift of unambiguous knowledge in matters of religion, might for many people be dangerous” (98).

Lacking such knowledge, we can now understand Pascal’s famous wager. This is not an argument for God’s existence but a strategy for living. A good wager will account for “expected value” (112ff).

(EV): (Probability x Payoff) – Cost = Expected Value.

Morris gives the following example. Gold (a horse) has a ⅔ probability of winning with a payoff of $300. Placing a bet costs sixty dollars. Silver, another horse, by contrast, “pays nine hundred dollars, and to bet on this horse costs only $20” (112-113). Even with only a ⅓ probability of winning, Silver is clearly the best bet.

The key strategy is not how much money I get at the end, but how can I quantify “the overall value of each bet.”

Applying this to the religious realm, we can look at the costs of admission into the best. As Morris points out, the cost of admission is not heaven or hell, but what we are giving up in this life. The Christian gives up, among other things, a life of selfishness and debauchery. The atheist gives up having any kind of real hope. Strangely enough, if the atheist is right, he cannot know that he is right (119). At best, the atheist can only have a finite number of benefits against the potential of infinite loss.

It might be objected that such a wager does not actually create belief in God. Of course it does not. That misses the point. One cannot simply manufacture beliefs. Rather, such a wager structures our actions, which in turn may condition beliefs. Pascal seeks “to cultivate those capacities on the part of people who, because of the great values involved, are gambling their lives, hoping for success (124).

How does such a wager condition our beliefs. Morris suggests the following: action creates emotion, which in turn either blinds us or opens our eyes to aspects of our objective environments. They “color patterns of perception that either reveal or hide from us the ultimate realities” (125). In other words,
Action → Emotion → Perception → Objective situation


I will admit that Pascal is not my favorite philosopher, and I certainly do not consider him a Christian apologist. He was a fairly good psychologist, though. Professor Morris, here and elsewhere, does a fine job elucidating these key realities of the human condition.

The Stoic Art of Living (Morris)

Morris, Tom.  The Stoic Art of Living: Inner Resilience and Outer Results. Open Court: Chicago, 2004.

Check out his website

Key idea: Our life goals must be rooted in self-knowledge, “guided by a sense of what is good, and should take form within an ennobling big picture” (Morris 5).


The mind should be exercised continually (10).

The proper application of any insight depends on perspective (15).

Seneca details the importance of goal-setting.  “Begin with the end in view.”  Not just any goals, but goals that are proper to you.  The challenge is to find out how we can know the right goals.  That’s where proper philosophy comes in.  We have to go beyond what we want to “what we should want” (19).  Seneca’s task was to link proper goal setting with pursuing the Good. We know that our desires aren’t always good ones; a proper understanding of the Good can try to offset erroneous desires.

Our larger goals will most likely be shaped, whether for good or for ill, by how our soul has developed at that point. Our smaller goals must fit within that larger structure.

Key idea: adversity is necessary for “soul-making.”

Goals and Sequences

Morris echoes, or perhaps anticipates, themes from his other works: “We need a clear conception of what is important” (36-37).

Key idea: “Inconsistency often shows that at some level we really don’t know what we want” (39).  Consistency is truth.  When you are inconsistent, you are not being true to yourself.  One way to guide us is reason.  But Seneca has a “thick,” not thin concept of reason: “It is the whole ability we have to grasp, through intuition, interpretation, and inference, what the truth is about anything” (42).

While many probably admire the Stoic’s ability to not let things get to them, few can go with them on negating all emotion.  Is that what the Stoics really teach?  Probably.  Maybe.  The key point, as Morris notes, is that “any extreme of emotion can distort our perspective if it gets out of control” (48).


The most famous modern ethical dilemma is the trolley dilemma or perhaps the Nazis at the door.  Such discussions are important but largely irrelevant to modern life.  Following Seneca, Morris notes, “In modern times we are encouraged to suspect that ethical dilemmas will stalk us at every turn, making it nearly impossible to have agreed upon, universally applicable standards” (57). In reality, you won’t be in those situations.

While we cannot go with the cosmic pantheism of the Stoics, they are correct that we stand in “reciprocally dependent relations with each other.”


“It is not external forces in our lives, but our own beliefs about those forces that pressure us and bring on us all the negative experience” (76).  The background for this comment is that we shouldn’t look to the external world for our happiness. Morris takes the Stoic emphasis on the internal and draws a shocking (yet common-sense) conclusion: by focusing “our thoughts, plans, attitudes and energies…close to home, to what we can control, to the small sphere of real personal competence that we do command,” we are actually able to achieve positive change and balance (81). 

In other words, identify your range of control.  Your range of control is what is truly in your power: assent, aspiration, and action (86). This means developing our core within ourselves, which for the Stoics meant cultivating virtue and living according to reason. This means cultivating the will, “the seat of virtue or vice” (99).

Good practical advice

“It is only the relaxed and rested mind that can be intuitive and creative to its highest potential” (60-61).

Reason isn’t everything.  “While we should govern imagination by reason, it is only the power of the imagination that is able to tame emotion” (93).

Like all of Morris’s books, this book makes the ethical life exciting.  As Christians we don’t always have to agree with the Stoics (and Morris offers his own criticisms at the end).  Nonetheless, the early Christians in the New Testament dealt with the Stoics and Epicureans, not the Platonists (who are no doubt important in their own way).

Oasis Within (Morris)

The Oasis Within — Tom Morris

This book begins as “wisdom literature” but ends with plot twists and “gotcha” moments. Both halves are worth it. You really haven’t read anything like it. I don’t say that lightly, since I am not sure how to classify it. This is a different kind of novel, and since it is something of a prequel, it doesn’t have to follow the typical story-line pattern.  It is a series of wisdom conversations between an old man and his nephew.  In many ways it sums up Morris’s own philosophy of life.

Key idea: a person’s inner strength comes from cultivating an “oasis within” himself.  Nevertheless, we cannot stay at an oasis. We have to do more than simply rest in moments of strength and recovery.  We must achieve balance.  Morris’s interlocutor, Uncle Ali, explains, “Balance is not a steady, static thing.  It’s ever changing.  The essence of it is care and correction, or awareness and adjustment.  It is an ongoing dance of change” (Morris 13).

Key idea: We can’t control the day, but only what we make of the day.

Lessons from the viper:  emotions and feelings aren’t bad.  They are often good teachers, but only if they are disciplined and controlled.  Morris says “we must cultivate a sensitivity to what is real” (33). We do this “by creating new habits of feeling.”  Very few things are as bad as we fear them to be. We should neither ignore all our fears nor over-exaggerate them.

What do you want to do with your life?  There are two different types of “opportunities” we get.  Some are for particular actions and some are for directions to grow (39). The latter type usually materialize more than once in life.  The key thing is to “act with as much excellence as you can.”

Ancient philosophers spoke of the four elements. While we know that the physical reality isn’t reducible to earth, air, fire, and water, these elements nevertheless serve as a good picture of man.  Those who have “fire” have a creative energy in them.  Earth represents stability.  They are dependable and have fertile soil for vision to grow.  Water flows out to encourage and nourish people.  Air is information. The key is to balance these.

Those are some of the gems you will find in this book. Highly recommended.

If Harry Potter Ran General Electric (Morris)

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Key idea 1: Great stories can provide insights into the narratives of our lives.

Key idea 2: Best leaders teach by example and guide by encouragement.

Morris argues that Dumbledore exemplifies the Aristotelian virtues.  The virtues are important because “what makes” a good leader is something internal.   We talk about “building the inner person” but no one really knows what that means in the concrete, aside from something like “integrity.”  The Aristotelian virtues provide a starting point.

Life is dynamic. We are always in a process of becoming.

Dumbledore has a “generosity of spirit.”  Morris says this lets him see “beyond the categories that define people.”  I might take a stab at it from my own perspective.  I have had some students that were generally annoying and often made bad choices.  I realized, though, that they had a lot of raw potential and would probably get straightened out in time.

Key idea: The fundamental virtue in business and life is courage.

This gets interesting.  On one hand, Gryffindor is the house that generates the virtue of courage.  However, Voldemort’s followers often act courageous themselves.  In that case, why can’t a vice generate the same outcome?  To answer this, Morris points to the ancient truth of “the unity of the virtues.”  It is impossible to just have one good virtue.  Here is the difference: Voldemort’s followers appear to act courageously because they are bullied by fear; the good man actually overcomes the fear.

The self-help mindset only goes so far.  True success has a communal side to it.

We can summarize the chapter on ethics under several propositions:
1) Ethics is about creating strength.

2) Doing acts of evil, as seen in Malfoy and Voldemort, always rebounds on itself.

3) Iris Murdoch: when we habitually do good, we often create “good structures” that visit us later on.

Morris calls Wicca “that priesthood of perpetual graduate students and coffeehouse radicals.”

If Aristotle Ran General Motors

Morris, Tom.  If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Business. New York: Holt, 1997.

Greatness is rooted in simplicity. Former Notre Dame philosophy professor Thomas Morris takes the insights from philosophy and applies them to the business world.

Goal of the book: catch the wave of wisdom at work and create the right environment “for ultimate motivation in the workplace” (Morris 9).

Aristotle’s insight: everyone in life is chasing after happiness, however it is defined.  Morris lists three basic views:

  1. Pleasure; this is unrealistic, since most people in the workplace don’t experience one long, uninterrupted wave of pleasure.
  2. Happiness as personal peace: this is a better view but it still runs short.  We do not grow in a state of pure equilibrium.
  3. Happiness as participation in something fulfilling. It is a joy of creating and participating.

The Four Dimensions of Human Experience

  1. Intellectual (Truth)
  2. Aesthetic (Beauty)
  3. Moral (Goodness)
  4. Spiritual (Unity)

Key Point: each dimension corresponds to a foundation of human excellence ().


“Truth is that mapping of reality that corresponds to the way things are” (25). Knowledge, obviously, is vital to business.   

Truth implies, pace materialism, that men have minds.  If men have minds, then we can’t organize the workplace in such a way to think they are mindless machines.

Knowledge might be power, but people draw the wrong inference.  It is power, but this power only expands when knowledge is shared (36).  When you benefit others, you benefit the network in which you are already embedded.


Beauty might not seem relevant to the bottom line, but aesthetics is usually tied with job performance and satisfaction. In any case, the reverse is true.  Soul-killing environments usually affect performance.  Think of the Soviet Union.  Or in a slightly more humane way, think of Ron Swanson’s office in Parks and Recreation.  He has visitors sit in a chair in front of a mounted shotgun.

Beauty isn’t something as simplistic as “being pretty.” Rather, beauty provides the structure and soil for growth and flourishing.  This leads to Aristotle’s observation that the polis (or business) is a collaboration or partnership for living well (103).


Goodness and ethics are about creating strength for making proper decisions (120). If ethics were nothing but rules, we’d need infinitely more rules (145).  Therefore, ethics needs virtue, or “that deep wellspring of ethical tendency that joins the wisdom to create in us….moral character” (151).

Morris then provides advice on how to create a social context in which virtue flourishes:

  1. Moral mentors: Network with sages.  You can’t just show a new employee the ropes.  He might just hang himself. A good mentor cultivates good decision-makers.
  2. The importance of small details: Take care in little things. Whenever you make a decision, you are always becoming.
  3. Moral imagination: Cultivate a perceptive imagination.   Great art (usually literature) sparks our “imaginative abilities to perceive the ethical implications of what we are doing” (167).


His final section on unity weaves the three transcendentals together.


This is one of those few books that communicate rare, spiritual power. It is the best book on applied ethics I have ever read.

Review: McCall, Invitation to Analytic Theology

This is an old review, but I thought I had already posted it.  I hadn’t.

Despite it’s relatively simple-sounding and generic title, this book is unique in offering both a model for analytic theology as well as a brief crash course in certain debates. There are a handful of books (Richard Muller’s Dictionary is one) that could replace a seminary class. This is one of them.

McCall begins by dispelling myths about analytic theology (hereafter AT). AT doesn’t *necessarily* entail univocal language, substance metaphysics or naivety about church history (though that probably is true about analytic philosophy–JBA).

McCall makes clear that AT doesn’t entail the following

  1. A univocal view of language (25). (NB: Does William Alston hold to univocity?  Cf. Divine Nature and Human Language, pp. 17-117).
  2. AT entails natural theology (26).
  3. AT is naive about the history of doctrine.
  4. AT is apologetics for conservative theology.  Depends on what we mean by “conservative.” Plantinga, for one, has advanced problems of divine simplicity; yet, it probably is true, pace the current leadership of the Society of Christian Philosophers, that analytic theologians are committed to Christian orthodoxy and ethics.
  5. AT relies on substance metaphysics (30ff).  The battle isn’t between pre-Kantian and Kantians, but between Kantians and post-Kantians.  It is possible to read Kant and remain unconvinced.
  6. Analytic Theology isn’t spiritually edifying.

The true gold-mine of the book is McCall’s “Case Studies” dealing with metaphysics, compatibilism, and evolution. Particularly, one gets a refreshing survey of what it means for something to have an essence (kind-essence, Individual essence, common properties, merely human, fully human) and how this pays significant dividends for Christology.

Analytic Theology and Scripture

How does the Bible control and authorize analytic statements?  McCall offers an interesting model that can be applied elsewhere in theology (55ff). Let P be a primary true proposition.

RA1: The Bible contains propositions that explicitly assert P.

RA2: The Bible contains propositions that entail P.

RA3: The Bible contains propositions that that are consistent with P and suggest P.

RA4: The Bible contains propositions that that do not entail ~P, and is consistent with P (it is neutral with respect to P)

RA5: The Bible contains propositions that entail neither P nor ~P, but suggests some Q that is inconsistent with P.

RA6: The Bible contains propositions that entail ~P.

RA7: The Bible contains propositions that which assert ~P.

RA8: The Bible contains propositions that assert P and assert ~P

RA6-8 are incompatible with orthodoxy, yet RA1-5 are compatible and are far more robust than stereotypes of inerrancy.



Individual essence (haeccity): set of properties one must have for this distinct individual.  The full set of properties possessed by that person in all possible worlds in which that person exists.

Kind-essence: the full set of properties individually necessary and sufficient for inclusion in that set.

Common human properties: a property possessed by many or most humans.  Most humans can have a property without its being essential.

Essential human properties: an object has a property essentially iff it has it and could not have not had it.  It belongs to kind-nature.

Merely human: to exemplify only that kind-essence of humanity.

Fully human: to exemplify the kind-essence of humanity.

How does the two-minds approach account for Jesus’s being omniscient per divine yet nonomniscient per human?  Thomas V. Morris suggests an asymmetrical accessing relation.

Concretist Accounts

The “natures” are reified, not properties.

Every primary substance (Fido the Dog) has a secondary substance-kind (caninity) that pertains to it without which it could not exist (104).

For every primary substance x, there is only one secondary substance-kind K that pertains to x through itself and is essential to it.

Unfortunately, this rules out the incarnation, since there can’t be more than one secondary substance-kind to a primary substance.

Medieval theology modified this Aristotelianism: it is possible for a primary substance x that is essentially of a substance-kind also to possess/be/come to be of a substance kind K’ (where K is not the same as K’) contingently and non-essentially (105).

Concretists affirm a part-whole (mereological) account of the Incarnation.  There

He gives a wonderful rebuttal to theistic evolutionism simply by showing how sloppy their language is. Thus, the whole point of analytic theology.

My only criticism of the book is the lack of survey on how to get started in AT (e.g., which texts to read first).

Review Thomas V Morris Idea of God

This is a toned-down version of his Logic of God Incarnate and in many ways it is just as powerful and more accessible..  With the exception of his take on foreknowledge and eternity, I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Leadlight Window St Anselm

Founder of analytic theology

Furthermore, this book is a skillful exercise in analytic theology.  Morris invites us to think deeply on what we mean by God.  And we mean by God:

God is the greatest possible array of compossible great-making properties.

Morris explains some of the terms:

Great-making property: a property it is initially good to have.
Compossible: a set or array of properties is compossible if it is possible that they all be had by the same individual at the same time, or all together.

Morris’s take on God’s knowledge starts off well and cuts finite goddism off at the knees:

If God has to depend on any intermediary for knowledge, then this defeats creation theology: God would then be the creator of the intermediary, yet also lacking the knowledge of what he creates.  Morris then defines two useful concepts in analytic philosophy: de re and de dicto.

The proposition

(1) God is omniscient

Is necessarily true.  True in every possible world.  It has both de dicto and de re status.

G1: Necessarily, God is omniscience (de dicto status)

G2: God is necessarily omniscience (both de dicto and de re).

I am going to skip what Morris says about Molinism, Presentism, and Eternity.  His true skill is in Christology.  Is it logically incoherent to say that Jesus is both God and Man?  Morris shows that when we gloss our terms, there is no problem.  He writes,

“Divinity, or deity, we shall continue to construe as analogous to a natural kind, and thus as comprising a kind-essence, a cluster of properties individually necessary and jointly sufficient for belonging to the kind, or in this case, for being divine” (162).

Morris then capitalizes on the argument in several crucial sentences:

“An individual-essence is a cluster of properties essential for an individual’s being the particular entity it is, properties without which it would not exist. A kind.essence is that cluster of properties without which, as we have seen, an individual would not belong to the particular natural kind it distinctively exemplifies. Of necessity, an individual can have no more than one individual-essence, or individual nature, but it does not follow from this, and is not, so far as I can tell, demonstrable from any other quarter, that an individual can have no more than one kind-essence” (163).

Let’s cash this out.  Humans are sinful. Jesus was human.  Yet, Jesus was without sin, so how could Jesus be human?  Morris shows that sin is a common human property, but not an essential one (since it wasn’t there originally and won’t be there in heaven).  Further, we say that Jesus is fully human, not merely human.

Fully human: exemplifying all of the properties in the kind-essence humanity

Merely human: exemplifying only those H-properties.

Two Minds Christology

They stand in an asymmetric accessing relation.  Jesus typically drew upon his human resources.

This book is easier to read than Logic of God Incarnate, and can probably be found cheaper than Logic.  It ends with a short bibliography.

Review: The Logic of God Incarnate

by Thomas Morris.

This is an incredible primer in analytic theology. Not the first intro text to be sure (that would be McCall), but indispensable nonetheless.

Does the claim “Jesus is God the Son” introduce incoherence into the Incarnation? Morris says no, provided that we properly understand what is meant by key philosophical terms. His argument trades on a number of similar philosophical tools: what is a concept? What is a natural-kind? Does fully-human = merely-human? Modern theologians who reject the Incarnation rarely examine these issues.

According to Morris (Morris 21ff), we hold to the proposition

(C) Jesus is God the Son


(C’) Jesus is God

Modern critics of the Incarnation say that humanity and divinity are contraries, so one subject cannot exemplify both. The heart of Morris’s book is that these are not contraries and Jesus does, in fact, exemplify both the properties of humanity and the properties of divinity.

Some of the difficulty comes with the undefined usage of the term ‘nature.’ Critics of the Incarnation think that the properties in human nature and in divinity are logical complements, thus precluding any bearer to exemplify both. Morris argues this isn’t necessarily the case. We aren’t saying that Jesus held to two undefined natures, but rather two natural kinds, or kind-nature. Natural kind: a shareable set of properties (39ff). Jesus had all the kind-essential properties of both humanity and divinity (40). It’s not clear where the contradiction, if any, is.

So far Morris has cleared orthodoxy of the charge of incoherence. But are divinity and humanity compossible?

Divine and Human Existence

Is Death annihilation? If it is, then Jesus, as one bearing divine properties, cannot die.
But why should the theist accept this? Doesn’t the soul outlive the body? Morris doesn’t take this argument, though. He rather points out that Jesus bore essential, if not common, human properties. Either one works.

Jesus and the Attributes of Deity

Problem: how can Jesus bear the property, say, of omnipresence during the Incarnation?

Anselm: God is a maximally perfect being who exemplifies a maximally perfect set of compossible great-making properties.

Great-making property: a property it is intrinsically better to have than to lack.
Degreed: something you can have more of
Logical maxima: highest possible degrees
Non-logical maxima: capable of infinite increase

The Properties of the God-man

Alvin Plantinga: the divine persons can differ in the modal status of their properties (94-95). The Son can exemplify some of those properties contingently.

Morris explores a number of options to avoid the kenotic conclusion.

Range of consciousness = collection of belief-states (102).
Two minds = two ranges of consciousness. Morris writes, “The divine mind of the Son of God contained, but was not contained by, his earthly mind” (103). There is an asymmetric relationship.