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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 24, Issue 1, 2012

T. Ryan Byerly
Pages 67-83

Why Persons Cannot Be Properties

This paper strengthens an argument from Alvin Plantinga against versions of the doctrine of divine simplicity which identify God with each of his properties. Plantinga shows that if properties are causally inefficacious abstracta, then God cannot be one of them—since God is surely causally efficacious. Here I argue that God cannot be even a causally efficacious property. The argument is an important complement to Plantinga’s work, since in the years following the publication of his essay many metaphysicians began to think of properties as causally efficacious entities for reasons quite independent of the doctrine of simplicity.

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