Aquinas and analogy

Religious language

  • Created by: Becca
  • Created on: 19-04-10 19:01

Aquinas and Analogy

Rejects Via Negativa as it doesnt say enough about what God is - religious language has a significant meaning.

Aquinas suggested that language means something concrete when applied to God although it doesnt suggest that language means the same when applied to God as it does when applied to humans.

Using words in a literal way to describe God is known as univocal.

Univocal: Words have the same meaning when applied to different objects or things.

Eqivocal - The use of the same word to mean completely different things when applied to different objects. The word bat could mean an animal or sports equipment - Aquinas didnt believe this sort of language could be used to describe God.

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Analogy of attribution

Aquinas meant that words such as just may be applied to God and human beings. Aquinas suggested that words such as good and just, we are saying that a person has the quality of being good or just.

Brian Davies: The bread is good. The Baker is good. The word good is used in both cases and has a similar but not the same meaning. Bread can be good - yummy and soft. Saying the baker is good doesnt mean he is yummy and soft but instead he has the necessary qualities to be a good baker.

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Analogy of proportion

Refers to the nature of what something is. Aquinas uses the example of good applied to God.

If you say a car is good then you mean it measures up to what you think a good car should be like.

In the case of God is good it uses to indicate that God measures up to what it is for God to be God. God is described by God as perfectly good, as God is unchangeable and eternal.

The words good doesnt mean morally good but refers to something lives up to what it should be.

Richard Swinburne criticizes: Words could be used univocally to talk about God. For example is God is good, this could be interpreted to mean that God is good just as humans can be but God is good on a greater level.

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Eep sorry I meant to rate it 5/5! x



So, ahh, does this link into Aristotle? Something is good when it fulfils its purpose (final cause) and reaches eudamonia... or something. Or is this different?

Sorry, I'm so thick ;) x



No your not :)

Not really Aquinas is commenting about how langauge is used to talk about God rather than the cause of God (if you get what i mean)




Good notes, but as far as I know not really relevant the my AS exam tomorrow (I haven't been taught any of this stuff), so i'm just gonna put it to one side for now lol.

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