The Logic of Analogy: An Interpretation of St. Thomas

The Logic of Analogy: An Interpretation of St. Thomas

The Logic of Analogy: An Interpretation of St. Thomas

The Logic of Analogy: An Interpretation of St. Thomas

Excerpt

The need for another study on the doctrine of analogy in the writings of St Thomas may not be obvious, since a complete bibliography in this area would doubtless assume depressing proportions. The present work is felt to be justified because it attempts a full-fledged alternative to the interpretation given in Cajetan De nominum analogia, an interpretation which has provided the framework for subsequent discussions of the question. Recently, it is true, there has been growing dissatisfaction with Cajetan's approach; indeed there have been wholesale attacks on the great commentator who is alleged to have missed the clef de voûte of the metaphysics of his master. Applied to our problem, this criticism leads to the view that Cajetan was not metaphysical enough, or that he was metaphysical in the wrong way, in his discussion of the analogy of names. As its title indicates, the present study is not in agreement with Cajetan's contention that the analogy of names is a metaphysical doctrine. It is precisely a logical doctrine in the sense that "logical" has for St Thomas. We have no desire to be associated with attacks on Cajetan, the metaphysician, attacks we feel are quite wrongheaded. If Cajetan must be criticized for his interpretation of the analogy of names, it is imperative that he be criticized for the right reasons. Moreover, criticism of Cajetan in the present study is limited to his views on the analogy of names.

Some readers may be surprised to find the writings of St Thomas treated as a whole in which a consistent doctrine is sought, particularly when some of the knottiest textual problems seemingly could be, if not solved, at least dispelled by chronological considerations. For example, the commentary on the Sentences and the Quaestio disputata de veritate, early works, contain remarks on the analogy of names difficult to reconcile with the Summa theologiae. Given this, one might wish to opt for an evolution of thought and the need for reconciliation would thereby vanish. But the problem cannot be handled in this way. Late writings of St Thomas present essentially the same problems as those found in earlier works. Furthermore, these problems can be solved and the consistency of St Thomas' thought on the analogy of names is not so much an assumption as a conclusion of the research whose fruits are set forth . . .

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