According to some versions of the doctrine of divine simplicity, God is identical with the property of divinity. I am planning on writing up a (limited) defense of this identity, and to that end I am hereby offering an argument contest with very modest prizes, with the hope of getting really good submissions to argue against in my paper (unless perhaps I am convinced by the submissions!).
Here is the task for the contest. Grant for the sake of the argument that:
- There is at least one necessarily existing person.
- Realism about properties is correct.
The reason why I ask that the arguments grant these assumptions is that I am not interested in variants on the following two arguments: (1) All properties are necessary beings, every person is contingent, and, therefore, no property is a person; (2) There are no properties, and, therefore, no property is a person.
The deadline is the end of February, 2010, Central Time.
I will give a $50 amazon.com gift certificate to the person who, in my subjective judgment, has submitted the most powerful, reasonably brief (there is an approximately 6000 character limit) original argument (of course, an original argument can build on arguments by others, including arguments submitted to this contest). If your argument has already appeared in published work, you may use it for the contest--but don't give a reference in your submission, because then I'll think that it's not original, because I'll be judging blindly. In case I can't decide on the winner, I will do a random draw among those I consider to be finalists.
However, it is not necessary to submit an original argument to enter. All entrants who give a serious argument that was not already posted by the time their entry was submitted, even if that argument is not their own (hopefully it comes with a reference!), will have a chance to win a $30 amazon.com gift certificate by random drawing. While the best-argument prize you can enter several times to improve your chances (with different arguments!), the random drawing you get only one chance at, no matter how many entries you submit.
Submissions must be posted via the form in this link. This ensures that judging will be done blindly--the entries are separated from the entrant names. But to be eligible for a prize, you must include your real name.
From time to time, I'll be posting serious submissions as comments on this blog post, without the entrant's name. (What counts as original will be relative to what was posted at the time.) At the end of the contest, I may post a comment identifying by name those entrants who checked the box releasing their names.
Prior to posting, you might want to see this discussion of the issue, as well as the comments below. This may also keep down the submissions of non-original arguments.
The comments to this post are open to discussion of the arguments posted. I may, for instance, post critical responses. You are free to submit an improved version of your argument--or a supplement to your argument--to be judged together with your original argument (in that case, reference your first version by entry number). But only arguments submitted via the above-linked form count as entries.
I am the final arbiter of how the contest proceeds, and no appeal is possible. I reserve the right to disqualify entries for any reasons I see fit. If computer problems destroy entries or fail to record them correctly, then that's just your tough luck. The winner is responsible for all the tax implications of the prize.
The arguments should not be written as complete papers. A simple, fairly concise numbered or informal argument suffices.