The Role of Focus in Aquinas’s Doctrine of Analogy

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 77:289-301 (2003)
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Abstract

Scholars of Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy have traditionally devoted their attention to the question of which kind of analogy, that of proportionality or that of attribution, is the most relevant for Aquinas. However, a closer study of some of Aquinas’s crucial texts reveals that there are prior and more fundamental problems. A relevant difficulty concerns the characteristics of the focus of an analogical predication. A good understanding of what Aquinas means by the focusof an analogical predication requires four different steps. First, demonstrating whether the focus is a concept or an individual thing. Second, indicating whetherthe focus is in a causal relation with the other things involved in analogy. Third, establishing whether the focus involves an extrinsic or an intrinsic predication.Fourth, showing how the focus works when analogy is applied to the case of being. By examining the notion of the focus, we may learn of some of the originalfeatures of Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy.

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Antonio Donato
Queens College (CUNY)

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