Omnipotence and the Vicious Circle Principle
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The classical paradox of the stone, namely, whether an omnipotent being can create a stone that the being itself cannot lift is traditionally circumvented by a response propounded by Thomas Aquinas, that even omnipotent beings cannot accomplish the logically impossible. However, in their paper “The New Paradox of the Stone,” Alfred R. Mele and M.P. Smith attempt to reinstate the paradox without falling foul of the Thomistic logical constraint. According to Mele and Smith, instead of interpreting the paradox as posing a competition between a pair of omnipotent beings—represented by God at two different times—the paradox can be reformulated as posing a question about simultaneous competition between a pair of omnipotent beings. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to probe the possibility of the simultaneous existence of two omnipotent beings in view of the theological arguments for the “unicity of the omnipotent.”
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