C) Religious language as non-cognitive & analogical


1. Aquinas

  • Believed we only have our day-to-day language to talk about God. We understand that words applied to God have a different meaning to everyday use because God is perfect. Therefore, we are using analogies
  • Disagrees with the verification principle as he believes humans can only describe God using analogy
  • Developed 2 forms of analogy to talk about God- proportion and attribution
  • "...The knowledge of things does not depend on words, but on the meaning of names" (Aquinas- analogies)

2. The analogy of proportion

  • Aquinas considered the universe was inhabited by different orders of things (hierarchical in status) e.g. God is above creation
  • Each order possessed appropriate characteristics, though the adjective may be applied to different things. E.g. intelligence does not mean the same for a fox as for a human. It is relative
  • Therefore, we can see the link but understand the difference- in proportion to the reality that the thing being spoken about possesses
  • For Aquinas, it was therefore possible to talk analogically about God by making reference to human qualities

3. The analogy of attribution

  • Aquinas believed attributes were entirely divinely inspired
  • Humans can only be good because they come from God
  • They are not good independently, but because they…


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