The Principle of Analogy

In C. Campbell-Jack (ed.), New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics. Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity Press. pp. 69 - 74 (2006)
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The Principle of Analogy. ABSTRACT. Sceptics question whether ‘distinctively human’ predicates such as ‘just’, ‘loving’ and ‘powerful’ can intelligibly be attributed to a divine being. If not, then a vicious form of agnosticism seems to threaten orthodox theism. Especially if one assumes a broadly empiricist semantics the challenge, whether formulated in terms of a univocal or an equivocal understanding of predicates, seems to generate intractable philosophical problems. Aquinas’ theory of analogical predication, understood either in terms of ‘analogy duorum ad tertium’ or in terms of ‘analogy unus ad alterum’, is an influential response to this sceptical challenge. Difficulties in each understanding are explored and it is suggested that a more fruitful framework for understanding theistic language is to be found in late 20th century nativism of Fodor and Quine.

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