Analogy in St. Thomas

A2 students – Aquinas on analogy

Just Thomism

One of the first moves in explaining the doctrine of analogy in St. Thomas has been to point out that analogy is from the Greek idea of proportion or ratio. St. Thomas himself explains analogy by ratios, either as different ratios to the same thing (like 5/4 and 3/4, which has the technical name of “proper proportion” ) or the same ratio to different things (like 3/8 and 6/16 or “proportionality”).  The explanation works up to a point, but it leaves the main question of analogy open. Visualizing ratios between ideas allows us to see a way in which ideas can admit of both real equality and diversity, but Thomists are not interested in analogy in general but only so far as it helps us establish the unity of metaphysics and the attribution of positive names to God, and in neither case is it particularly satisfying to say that the…

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