Jacques Maritain Center : The Logic of Analogy / by Ralph McInerny


"Let us start with a review of the theories of other thinkers; for the proofs of a theory are difficulties for the contrary theory. Besides, those who have first heard the pleas of our adversaries will be more likely to credit the assertions we are going to make."{1}

    One does not have to be a student of the writings of St Thomas for very long before being struck by the importance that analogy seems to have for his thought. In the commentaries on Aristotle, in the two Summae, in the disputed questions, the matter of analogy comes up soon and in an obviously important way. Analogy is appealed to to explain our knowledge of prime matter, the unity of the subject of metaphysics and the way in which names are common to God and creature. but despite the fact that it seems to pervade his thought, one does not find any work of St Thomas devoted to analogy. It does not provide the subject of a question, a lectio or a distinctio. Indeed, one becomes increasingly aware of the fact that when analogy is mentioned, it is most often the case that knowledge of what it is is assumed, that we are being presented with an example of it rather than an ex professo treatment of analogy itself.

    The thought occurs that, by amassing the texts where analogy is mentioned and by separating the doctrine on analogy from the example of analogy under consideration, an intricate and perhaps consistent treatise could be constructed. It is at this point that thomists for centuries have breathed a sigh of relief. The painstaking work has already been done, the treatise has been written. One of the most influential works by a follower  of St Thomas is the De nominum analogia by Thomas De Vio Cardinal Cajetan (1468-1534). This treatise, completed on the first day of September, 1498, when its author was thirty years of age, is not a long one. In eleven brief chapters, Cajetan, drawn by the difficulty of, as well as by the superficiality of current writings on, the subject, attempts to give the basic points necessary for an understanding of the analogy of names. Father Alverez-Menendez, in his preface to a recent Latin edition of the work, gives some indication of the approval with which the opusculum of Cajetan has been met in the thomistic school down to our own times.{2}

    This is not to say, of course, that no dissenting voices have been heard. In a moment we will see that Sylvester of Ferrara opens the way to disagreement with Cajetan on several points. But it is still true that the majority of dissenters adopts the basic point d'appui of Cajetan's work. Suarezians and Scotists have contributed important and illuminating criticisms of the work of Cajetan, questioning that it faithfully reflects the thought of Aristotle and St Thomas. In recent times, there has been a remarkable revival of interest in St. Thomas' doctrine on analogy. This revival has involved a fairly  general agreement with Cajetan, although some have expanded the criticisms implicit in Sylvester of Ferrara. Presently, Cajetan's opusculum is being treated quite critically, In function of a new and influential interpretation of the metaphysics of St Thomas, Cajetan's authority in general is being questioned. At first proposed as an hypothesis,{3} but now assumed as somehow evident, it is said that Cajetan failed to grasp the very key to thomistic metaphysics. And, although it was Cajetan who insisted that analogy is metaphysical, the Cardinal's inadequate understanding of the metaphysics of his master is said to weaken if not vitiate his interpretation of analogy.

    Nevertheless, agreeing or disagreeing, discussions of analogy forever go back to the De nominum analogia. One who has studied Cajetan and found him wanting cannot abstract from his opusculum in presenting another interpretation of the texts of St Thomas. And, of course, disagreement with such a one as Cajetan is always accompanied by some measure of agreement. Any interpretation of St Thomas on analogy must profit from Cajetan's work. This is not to say that our own departure from the great commentator is a minor one; indeed, we feel it is most fundamental. One does not take on the drudgery of writing a book to list minor disagreements, or relatively unimportant emendations to a substantially helpful existent work.

    What we want to do is outline the basic doctrine of the De nominum analogia, considered as a résumé of the thought of St Thomas, and then observe what happens when Cajetan, as commentator, encounters texts of St Thomas which do not seem to coincide with the doctrine of his opusculum. The result of this, we feel, will indicate a serious problem for the student who wants to accept the De nominum analogia as a faithful and accurate statement of St Thomas' teaching on analogy. The net effect should be the elucidation of a problem which is, first of all, a textual one, but as well and more importantly, a philosophical problem not restricted to the school in which it is discussed and of such magnitude that it cannot be ignored.


(a) De nominum analogia

    The term, "analogy," Cajetan begins, as we have received it from the Greeks, means a proportion or  proportionality. From meaning this, the word has been extended so that we now call many names analogous. This extension has led to such an abuse of the term that impossible confusion has resulted, something that can be discovered by attempting to reduce the many meanings of "analogy" to any kind of unity. Cajetan himself proposes a trimembered division which will comprise every use of "analogy" and which will enable him to discuss each type by moving from what is least properly analogy to what is truly analogy. The three-fold division of analogy proposed by Cajetan is: analogy of inequality, analogy of attribution and analogy of proportionality. If we take the term "analogy" in its proper and true sense, only the last type can be called analogy; that such is the case, moreover, is clear from the usage of Aristotle. The first member of the division is said to be totally alien to analogy. Cajetan turns immediately to an analysis of the three kinds of analogy.

    Cajetan's procedure is noteworthy. We must not overlook his insistence on the meaning of "analogy" ut a Graecis accepimus.{4} This will be a reiterated theme of the book, dictating what is properly analogy. The initial statement that proportionality alone is truly and properly analogy is based on Aristotle's use of the Greek term. Moreover, it is curious that Cajetan should elect to proceed "a minus proprie analogis ad vere analoga."{5} Surely something can be shown to be minus proprie only when that which is vere et proprie is known. It could be replied to this that Cajetan is simply trying to embrace in one division what de facto have been called analogous names. After doing this, he will show what St Thomas really meant by the analogy of names. There are two difficulties with this suggestion. First, it is to St Thomas that appeal will be made to exemplify each member of the division given, that is, three presumably different uses of "analogy" in the texts of St Thomas are referred to. And one of these, again, is "alienus ab analogia omnino."{6} This leads to the second difficulty. If the De nominum analogia is a précis  of the doctrine of St Thomas on the analogy of names, and if one of his uses of "analogy" is utterly alien to what the term means, it is more important than ever that we know at the outset what the analogy of names properly is. Once more, what is less properly or utterly alien to analogy can be shown to such only when we know what analogy is. One is reminded of the Socrates of the Theaetetus who, when he asks what knowledge is, does not want to be told its kinds, or to be given examples of it, but wants to be told what it is of which these are kinds or examples. To this it might be said: you have to realize that "analogy" is not a univocal term. Analogy is analogous. Perhaps, but such a remark only increases the difficulty - unless one already knows what analogy is. For to be told that analogy is analogous when one has asked what analogy is, is - to heighten the mystery - analogous to the unfruitful. infinity created by barbershop mirrors. This may seem mere cavilling. Read on, it might be urged. Perhaps the procedure is not the best, but its seeming deficiencies will be excused when more is seen of the difficulties of the subject. A good beginning may be half the journey, but one is a better judge of the route taken after the destination has been reached.

(1) Analogy of Inequality

    The definition Cajetan gives of this type of analogy imitates the definitions with which the Categories of Aristotle begins. Indeed, it was when he was commenting on the definition of equivocals given by Aristotle that Cajetan promised to write the work under consideration.{7} "Analoga secundum inaequalitatem vocantur quorum nomen est commune, et ratio secundum illud nomen est omnino eadem, inaequaliter tamen participata."{8} The example given, together with the phrase used to describe this type, is taken from St Thomas (I Sent., d. 19, q. 5, a. 2., ad 1). The term "body" is common to celestial and terrestial bodies and the notion signified by the name is the same when applied to either insofar as they are bodies. Things named in this way are said, by the logician, to be named equivocally. The reason for the disagreement is that the former considers the intentions of the names, the latter considers natures.{9} Thus Aristotle can say (Metaphysics, Book Ten, chapter ten) that there is nothing univocally common to the corruptible and incorruptible, because he is ignoring the unity of the notion or concept. So, too he will warn that the genus conceals a multitude of equivocations (Physics, Book Seven, chapter four), since the generic concept is not of a nature absolutely one. Thanks to this, every genus can be callanalogous,{10} although we usually reserve the designation for those which are supreme genera or nearly so.

    In calling this analogy "secundum esse tantum," St Thomas points out that the analogates are made equal (parificantur) in the notion signified by the common name, but not in the "esse illius rationis."{11} The generic notion always exists more perfectly in one species than in the other, which is why Averroes can say that there is priority and posteriority among things which fall under the same genus. Cajetan adds this enigmatic observation:

Haec pro tanto analoga vocantur, quia considerata inaequali perfectione infriorum per prius et posterius orddine perfectionis de illis dicitur illud nomen commune. Et iam in usum venit, ut quasi synonyme dicamus aliquid dici analogice et dici per prius et posterius. Abusio tamen vocabulorum haec est; quoniam dici per prius et posterius superius et ad dici analogice.{12}
The reason that analogy of inequality is called analogy is the inequality of the esse of the common notion signified by a univocal name, an order per prius et posterius. It has become a matter of usage to take as synonymous what is said unequally per prius et posterius and what is said analogously. Although a matter of usage, even on the part of St Thomas, apparently, this is really an abuse of terms, that is, contrary to usage. What is true is that dici per prius et posterius is more common that dici analogice.

    Notice that this constitutes Cajetan's first statement on analogous names: such names are instances of dici per prius et posterius. A generic name is only abusively an analogous name. Why? Though it may appear to be an instance of dici per prius et posterius, the logician will deny that it is really so. For him, it is a univocal name. This leads us to expect that it is for some logical reason that the generic name is a univocal one and that if it were really an analogous name, the logician could tell us why. We will see that this is a suggestion Cajetan seemingly does not wish to make. Thus far one thing seems quite clear. A treatise on the analogy of names, presumably as St Thomas understood and taught this doctrine, is ill begun by discussing a name that is univocal and yet somehow is said to involve an analogy if "analogy" is taken abusively. It must be remembered that it is St Thomas who has used the phrase analogia secundum esse - the context in which it is found presents many problems, but the problems cannot even be meaningfully formulated by beginning in the way Cajetan has.

(2) Analogy of Attribution

Again Cajetan begins with a definition imitating those of the Categories. "Analoga autem secundum attributionem sunt quorum nomen commune est, ratio autem secundum illud nomen est eadem secundum terminum, et diversa secundum habitudines ad illum."{13} The example given is one often used by Aristotle and St Thomas. "Healthy" is a name common to medicine, urine and animal. The notion signified by "healthy" as applied to each of them implies different relations to one term: "...ratio omnium in quantum sana sunt, ad unum terminum (sanitatem scilicet), diversas dicit habitudines."{14} If one asks what is meant by calling an animal healthy, the reply is: he is the subject of health: so too, urine is a sign of health, medicine is a cause of health. "Ubi clare patet, rationem sani esse nec omnino eamdem, nec omnino diversam, sed eamdem secundum quid, et diversam secundum quid. Est enim diversitas habitudinum, et identitas termini illarum habitudinum."{15}

    This analogy can come about in four ways according to the four species of cause. Things can be related diversely according to a denomination from or attribution to one end, one efficient cause, one exemplar or one subject. Cajetan's references are to the Fourth Book of the Metaphysics, chapter one; the Third Book of the same work, chapter two; and the First Book of the Nicomachean Ethics, chapter seven. There follow four conditions of this type of analogy.

    First, it is according to extrinsic denominations alone. The first analogate formally is what the name signifies and the others are denominated such extrinsically: "ita quod primum analogatorum tantum est tale formaliter, caetera autem denominantur talia extrinsice."{16} The animal is healthy formally, whereas urine, medicine and the rest are denominated healthy formally, whereas urine, medicine and the rest are denominated healthy, not from any health interest in them,but extrinsically from the health of the animal insofar as they signify it, cause, it etc. So too with "medical" and with "good." Cajetan adds a cautionary note.

Sed diligenter advertendum est, quod haec huiusmodi analogiae conditio, scilicet quod non sit secundum genus causae formalis inhaerentis, sed semper secundum aliquid extrinsecum, est formaliter intelligenda et non materialiter: idest non est intelligendum per hoc, quod omne nomen quod est analogum per attributionem, sit commune analogatis sic, quod primo tantum conveniat formaliter, caeteris autem extrinseca denominatione, ut de sano et medicinali accidit; ista enim universalis est falsa, ut patet de ente et bono, nec potest haberi ex dictis, nisi materialiter intellectis. Sed est ex hoc intelligendum, quod omne namen per attribuionem ut sic, vel in quantum sic analogum, commune est analogatis sic, quod primo convenit formaliter, reliquis autem extrinseca denominatione.{17}

This is an extremely puzzling addendum. We have been given to understand that only the first analogate of many formally is what the name signifies; the others are named such by extrinsic denomination and not because they formally are what the name signifies. We are then told that this must be understood formally and not materially. A material understanding of the rule would be that in analogy of attribution what  is common "primo tantum conveniat formaliter, caeteris autem extrinseca denominatione." But this is simply a reiteration of the rule. The rule, we are reminded, was exemplified by "healthy" and "medical" and it is true of them, but only accidentally (accidit). Cajetan does not want us to believe that what "being" or "good" signify exists only in that of which these words are primarily said, that only the primary analogate of these words has the perfection formaliter. So the rule must be understood formally if it is to apply to "being" and "good," but what is the formal understanding of the rule? Strangely enough, it appears to be identical with the material understanding which, in turn, is identical with the rule. "Sed est ex hoc intelligendum, quod omne  nomen per attributionem, ut sic, vel in quantum sic analogum, commune est analogatis sic, quod primo convenit formaliter, reliquis autem extrinseca denominatione." The additions of sic, ut sic lead to the following understanding. As named  by an analogy of attribution, the secondary analogates are not signified as possessing by an inherent form what the name signifies, but we cannot infer from this that they could not receive the same name and be denominaed from an inherent form. It is in terms of the latter possibility that Cajetan wants to distinguish "good" and "being" from "healthy" and "medical." Let us consider Cajetan's discussion of the first two words.

    Being, we are told, belongs formally (formaliter) to all substances, accidents, etc.; however, insofar as they are beings they are all said to be such with reference to what is being subiective and thus only substance is being formaliter. Other things are said to be being because they are "entis passiones vel generationes, etc. licet entia formaliter alia ratione dici possint."{18} Far from clarifying the issue, this obscures it more. Accidents are being formaliter. Obviously this will be indicated by applying the term "being" to them. But, insofar as accidents are named "being" they are referred to substance and only substance is being formaliter. Nevertheless, accidents can be said to be beings formaliter alia ratione. Does alia ratione mean for another reason, or according to another notion signified by "being" thanks to which accidents are not referred to substance? If the first, it is difficult to imagine what the reason would be. Actually, it is not unlikely that Cajetan thinks "being" can signify a  common notion in which accidents can participate without reference to substance.{19} But for an accident to be, formaliter, is for it to be in substance; only in this way is it named "being"; only in this way can it be.

    Cajetan's discussion of "good" gets him on more solid ground in the texts of St Thomas, as we will see later.

Licet enim omnia entia bona sint, bonitatibus sibi formaliter inhaerentibus, in quantum tamen bona dicuntur, bonitate prima effective aut finaliter aut exemplariter, omnia alia nonnisi extrinseca denominatione bona dicuntur: illamet bonitate, qua Deus ipse bonus formaliter in se est.{20}

Things are good, and formally so, by a goodness inherent in them, but when they share the name "good" with God, it is not the goodness formally in them that is named, but they are named by an extrinsic denomination from God who is formally good in Himself. Something can be called good without knowledge that God exists; when God is known to exist and to be good and to be the cause of goodness in creatures, creatures can be denominated good from God. This appeal to something outside themselves to name them good does not mean that they cannot be named good from something intrinsic to them.

    The more one considers this rule and Cajetan's discussion of it, the more one thing becomes clear, namely that the rule is irrelevant to the analogy of names. Several things receive a common name in such a way that some of them are denominated such-and-such by reference to one of the things so named. That from which they are denominated is the primary analogate; they themselves are secondary analogates. Now it sometimes happens (Cajetan's word) that the secondary analogates cannot receive the name because of an inherent form; but it also happens that secondary analogates do receive the name thanks to an inherent form. Therefore, simply by taking Cajetan's words for it, we can conclude that remarks about inherent forms and intrinsic possession are accidental to what he presumably is talking about. We will see later that Cajetan is led up this byway by two things: first, by certain remarks of St Thomas on the divine names; secondly, by his own misinterpretation of Ia, q. 16, a. 6.

    The second rule of the analogy of attribution is that the one in which the diverse relations terminate is unum numero, Cajetan makes a distinction between "numerically one" considered universally and particularly. When we are speaking universally of animal, diet and urine, the phrase should be understood negatively. "Non enim numeratur sanitas in animali, urina et diaeta, quoniam non est alia sanitas in urina, et alia in animali, et alia in diaeta."{21} Cajetan obviously has in mind the text of In IV Metaphys., lect. 1, n. 536. He explicates "...non quidem quod sit solum ratione unum, sed quod est unum sicut una quaedam natura" with reference to univocation, as St Thomas himself does. Here is Cajetan's understanding of the comparison of things named univocally and things named analogically. "Et sequitur ista conditio ex praecedenti: quoniam commune secundum denominationem extrinsecam non numerat id a quo denominatio sumitur in suis analogatis, sicut univocum multiplicatur in suis univocatis; et propter hoc dicitur unum ratione tantum, et non unum numero in suis univocatis. Alia est enim animalitas hominis, et alia equi, et alia bovis, animalis nomine adunatae in una ratione."{22}

    The third condition of analogy of attribution follows from the others. It is this: the first analogate from which the others are denominated must be placed in the definition of the others insofar as they are signified by the common name: "quoniam caetera non suscipiunt illud nomen, nisi per attributionem ad primum in quo formaliter salvatur eius ratio."{23}

    The fourth condition is that there is neither an objective nor formal concept which can be abstracted from the concepts of the analogates: "sed sola vox cum identitate termini diversimode respecti communis est: vox scilicet, terminus et respectus diversi ad illum; nomen analogum terminum quidem distincte significat, ut sanum sanitatem; respectus autem diversos ita indeterminate et confuse importat, ut primum distincte vel quasi distincte ostendat, caeteros autem confuse, et per reductionem ad primum."{14} A name common by analogy of attribution distinctly signifies that from which the name is imposed to signify (e.g. health); it signifies distinctly or quasi distinctly the primary analogate (e.g. healthy animal) and only confusedly the secondary analogates. There is nothing superior to all the analogates which could be signified by the name. This is indicated by the fact that, if used alone, it stands for the primary analogate.{25}

    Cajetan says that St Thomas divided analogy of attribution into analogia duorum ad tertium and analogia unius ad alterum."{26} It doesn't matter in which species of cause the primary analogate may fall; this division of analogy of attribution can be had in any case.{27}

    The logician calls this kind of analogy equivocation, something clear from the opening of the Categories.  The example of animal verum and animal pictum given there is an analogy of attribution. The Greek philosophers call analogy of attribution names which are ex uno, ad unum or in uno and say that they are midway between pure equivocation and univocation. However, as is evident from the First Book of the Ethics, such names are distinguished from analogous names. Latin writers call such names analogous or aequivoca a consilio.{28} With respect to St Thomas, it can be said that he designates analogy of attribution by the phrase "secundum intentionem et non secundum esse." He does this "eo quod nomen analogum non sit hic commune secundum esse, idest formaliter; sed secundum intentionem, idest secundum denominationem." Formaliter here seems clearly to mean "exists in" which according to the first rule is and is not what is meant by analogy of attribution. Should this kind of name be called analogous? "Haec ideo apud Latinos analoga dicuntur: quia proportiones diversae ad unum dicunt, extenso proportionis nomine ad omnem habitudinem. Abusiva tamen locutio haec est, quamvis longe minor quam prima."{29} One can see that it is to Greek usage that appeal is made to determine correct usage in Latin. The Greek term was said at the outset{30} to signify a proportion or proportionality. Since it is by an extension of the term, abuse though it be, that attribution is called an analogy, it is less improperly so called than is analogy of inequality. Aside from holding Latin authors to Greek usage, Cajetan's procedure is curious on the level of Greek alone. In the latter language, it is only by an extension of its meaning that ἀναλογία can be used in other than mathematical discussions. Why is not such usage abusive? Doubtless because it became a matter of usage. Apart then from other considerations, it seems odd to berate Latin auhors for abuse terminology while at the same time admitting that the Greek term had been extended to include non-mathematical relations. This is not our main point of contention, however. That will turn on the way Cajetan's division of the analogy of names, and the restriction of what is given in rules two and three to what he calls analogy of attribution, relate to the texts of St Thomas. But let us turn to what Cajetan feels is truly and properly analogy.

(3) Analogy of Proportionality

"Dicimus analoga secundum proportionalitatem dici, quorum nomen est commune et ratio secundum illud nomen est proportionaliter eadem. Vel sic: analoga secundum proportionalitatem dicuntur, quorum nomen commune est, et ratio secundum illud nomen est similis secundum proportionem."{31}
For example, to see by corporeal vision and to see intellectually are two uses of "to see"; they share the common name because, as understanding presents something to the mind, so seeing presents something to the animal. "Proportion" signifies a determinate relation of one quantity to another: the proportion of 4 to 2 is double. Proportionality is the similarity of two proportions: 8 to 4 and 6 to 3 are similar in that both are doubles. "Transtulerunt tamen Philosophi proportionis nomen ad omnem habitudinem conformitatis, commensurationis, capacitatis, etc."{32} Thus, "proportionality" has been extended to signify any similarity of relations and it is in this extended meaning of the term that Cajetan wants us to understand his use of it in discussing analogy of proportionality.

    This analogy can be of two kinds, metaphorical and proper. Metaphorical analogy is had "quando nomen illud commune absolute unam habet rationem formalem, quae in uno analogatorum salvatur, et per metaphoram de alio dicitur."{33} Metaphorical proportionality sounds a good deal like Cajetan's analogy of attribution. the difference, for the moment, can be said to lie in a similarity of proportions, on the part of metaphor, as opposed to a proportion of one thing to another. "Ut ridere unam secundum se rationem habet, analogum tamen metaphorice est vero risui, et prato virenti aut fortunae successui; sic enim significamus haec se habere, quemadmodum homo ridens."{34}

    Proper proportionality is had "quando nomen illud commune in utroque analogatorum absque metaphoris dicitur: ut principium in corde respectu animalis, et in fundamento respectu domus salvatur."{35} This is analogy par excellence for two reasons. First, "quia haec fit secundum genus causae formalis inhaerentis: quoniam praedicat ea, quae singulis inhaerent."{36} Secondly, from the point of view of the word "analogy": "quia analoga nomina apud Graecos (a quibus vocabulum habuimus) haec tantum dicuntur."{37} Aristotle's use of the Greek term is cited. "Et quod plus est, in I Ethic., cap. 7 distinguit nomina ad unum aut ex unocontra analoga; dum, loquens de communitate boni ad ea quae bona dicuntur, ait: 'Non assimilantur a casu aequivocis, sed certe ei quod est ab uno esse, vel ad unum omnia contendere, vel magis secundum analogiam.' Et subdens exemplum analogiae dicit: 'Sicut enim in cor pore visus, in anima intellectus.' In quibus verbis diligenti lectori, non solum nomen analogiae hoc, quod diximus, sonare docuit; sed praeferendum esse in praedicationibus metaphysics hanc insinuavit analogiam (in ly magis) ut S Thomas ibidem propter supra dictam rationem optime exponit."{38} By means of the analogy of proper proportionality we can know the intrinsic being, truth and goodness of things, something the other types of analogy cannot enable us to do. "Unde sine huius analogiae notitia, processus metaphysicales absque arte dicuntur."{39} Ignorance of it is compared with ignorance of logic. It is the anlogy of proper proportionality, Cajetan states, {40} that St Thomas designates by the phrase "secundum intentionem et secundum esse" since things named analogously in this way are not made equal (parificantur) in a common notion nor in the esse illius rationis. Moreover, they participate both in the common notion and in the being of this notion.

    Analogy of proper proportionality, then, is what is truly and propely analogy. This is said to be true, not only on the basis of Greek usage, but as well on the basis of the practise of St Thomas. What is more, this analogy is metaphysical.

    The task of the present study is not to determine how faithfully Cajetan may be following Aristotle's usage of the Greek equivalent of "analogy." Rather, we want to ask how his division of the analogy of names and his statements about the members of this division enable him to interpret the texts of St Thomas. Cajetan refers his reader to a number of texts in the writings of St Thomas; one text in particular suggested to him the threefold division of analogy. But there are many texts which treat the analogy of names in a way that calls into question Cajetan's opusculum considered as a statement of St Thomas' doctrine on the subject. As it happens, in the Summa theologiae, on which Cajetan is justly considered the commentator, there are several important statements concerning the analogy of names. Let us look at the way in which Cajetan deals with them.

(b) The Commentary on 'Summa Theologiae'

    As has been mentioned before, Cajetan wrote the De nominum analogia while yet a young man. It was somewhat later that he wrote his commentary on the Summa. Now the nature of the opusculum is such that it introduces an alien factor into Cajetan's commentary. In reading Cajetan the commentator, one becomes increasingly aware that the neat division of his opusculum intrudes itself between him and the text. Indeed, as will be shown in a moment, Cajetan becomes, on the matter of analogy, not so much a commentator who wants to understand the text before him, as an author who sees the text in the light of his own independent work.

    In question thirteen of the Prima pars, St Thomas is discussing the divine names. It is one of the most important sources for his views on the analogy of names, since it is a prolonged and profound discussion of names which are necessarily analogous. In the course of the question, St Thomas makes some universal statements about analogous names. Thus, in article five, which asks whether names common to God and creature are said univocally of both, St Thomas, having pointed out that such names can be neither univocal nor purely equivocal, concludes that they must be analogous, that is, said according to a proportion. He then adds this about names which are said secundum analogiam, idest proportionem.

Quod quidem dupliciter contingit in nominibus: vel quia multa habent proportionem ad unum, sicut sanum dicitur de medicina et urina, inquantum utrumque habent proportionem ad sanitatem animalis. Cuius hoc quidem signum est, illud vero causa; vel ex eo quod unum habet proportionem ad alterum, sicu sanum dicitur de medicina et animali, inquantum medicina est causa sanitatis quae est in animali.{41}
It is in the second way that names are said analogously of God and creature. For centuries this passage has been read as if St Thomas were speaking about Cajetan's "analogy of attribution." It is not surprising that Cajetan himself reads it this way. In number XIV of his commentary, he observes that "being" and "healthy" are analogous in different ways, one by extrinsic denomination, the other not.
Sed in hoc tenet similitudo, quod utrobique est analogia ratione ordinis duorum inter se, quamvia dissimiliter hic et ibi. Nam inter Deum et creaturam est similitudo formalis initativa (quae etiam in littera tangitur, dum creaturas ordinari in Deum dicitur ut causam, in qua praeexistunt perfectiones omnes): inter animal vero sanum et urina non est similitudo, sed relatio significationis. Et propterea ibi est analogica communitas secundum praedicationem formalem: hic autem proprie est communitas attributionis ad unum secundum praedicationem quamcumque, sive extrinsece sive intrinsece, etc.{42}
Cajetan refers his reader (for the third time in this article) to the De nominum analogia. It seems that the reference is to the chapter on analogy of attribution. It will be recalled that the division into multa ad unum and unius ad alterum was there given as a division of the analogy of attribution. And this is the beginning of the difficulty. According to Cajetan, analogy of attribution is not truly and properly the analogy of names. But in the fifth article of question thirteen, Prima pars, St Thomas is clearly talking about the analogy of names. Moreover, as Cajetan observes at the outset of his commentary, before discussing the analogy of names St Thomas discusses univocity and equivocity precisely as these are treated in the Categories. "In titulo, ly univoce sumitur utin Praedicamentis definiuntur univoca: nec oportet addere aut minuere, ut etiam in fine huius articuli dicitur."{43} If then St Thomas is speaking proprie et formaliter of equivocation and univocation, we should expect him to speak in the same way of the analogy of names and to give rules of it which pertain to it formaliter et ut sic. But Cajetan has assigned the division in the text to an analogy described in his opsuculum as minus proprie.

    In the sixth article of the same question, St Thomas asks whether names common to God and creature are said first of God or first of creatures. He begins by saying that "...in omnibus nominibus quae de pluribus analogice dicuntur, necesse est quod omnia dicantur per respectum ad unum: et ideo illud unum oportet quod ponatur in definitione omnium,"{44} In commenting on this, Cajetan raises a twofold doubt. The first difficulty is textual, since elsewhere{45} St Thomas seems to indicate that the second part of the rule, with respect to definition, is not universal. Indeed, he appears to exclude it from the divine names which are just what is under consideration in the text before us. The second difficulty has to do with the first part of the rule, reference to one. It would seem that creatures are not called wise with reference to God, nor God called wise with reference to creatures. Moreover, divine wisdom is not included in the ration of human wisdom, nor vice versa.{46} Here is Cajetan's solution.

Ad hoc breviter dicitur, quod analoga inveniuntur duobus modis. Quaedam enim significant ipsos respectus ad primum analogatum, ut patet de sano. Quaedam vero significant fundamenta tantum illorum respectuum; ut communiter invenitur in omnibus vere analogis, proprie et formaliter salvatis in omnibus analogatis. Propositio ergo illa universalis in antecedente assumpta, intelligenda est universaliter in primo modo analogiae: ita quod sensus est, quod in omnibus nominibus quae de pluribus analogice, idest secundum diversos respectus, dicuntur, oportet poni unum. In quaestione autem de Veritate, de secndo modo analogiae dixit oppositum. Et hec responsio est universalior ea quam alibi assignavimus, ex Qu. de Ver., quia ista responsio habet locum etiam in analogia secundum proportionalitatem, metaphorice tamen dictis: in his etiam unum pontiur in ratione alterius, propter paredictam causam.{47}
The text from the De veritate does propose, as Cajetan puts it, "dubium non dissimulandum,"{48} but it is questionable whether Cajetan has adequately resolved it. It is clear that he is invoking here his distinction between analogy of attribution and analogy of proper proportionality. By distinguishing between relations,{49} he finds himself able to interpret the rule of the text as universal, not to the analogy of names but to a kind of analogous name which is not really and truly an analogous name. Moreover, in correction of the stand of his opusculum, he sees the rule as applicable to both attribution and metaphor.

    It is curious that Cajetan rejects the rule of the text as applicable to what he feels is properly the analogy of names. St Thomas is speaking precisely of names as Cajetan himself has pointed out: "Adverte his quod quaestio praesentis litterae non est de rebus, sed de nominibus."{50} Would it be fair to wonder if Cajetan's insistence on fundamenta is a matter of things rather than names? It is surely not a consummation devoutly to be wished that St Thomas in speaking generally of the divine names, of modes of signification, should be read as setting forth rules that do not properly pertain, truly and formally pertain, to what he is talking about. Cajetan has, as he could hardly avoid doing, linked the discussion of question thirteen to the logical doctrine of the Categories. Without trying to diminish the difficulties raised by the other texts to which Cajetan refers, it can be suggested that a judgment of what is formally and properly and truly of the analogy of names can be decided only with reference to what is proper and formal to the context of that doctrine. This is but a hint at the direction our own interpretation of St Thomas will take. That another direction than Cajetan's is desirable is clear from the way the remarks of St Thomas must be interpreted when the De nominum analogia is taken as the measure. For then we must say that when St Thomas is speaking quite formally of things named analogously, as he is in question thirteen he is not speaking as formally and properly as he might.

    There are two other points of interest in Cajetan's commentary on article six. The first has to do with his discussion of the way names common to God and creatures are said per prius of God. This cannot be solely because God is the cause of the perfection in creatures, since medicine is the cause of the perfection in creatures, since medicine is the cause of health in the animal and medicine is not the per prius of the name "healthy."

Adverte quod, cum dicitur nomina huiusmodi communia prius dici de Deo quantum ad rem significatam, non intelligas hoc materialiter, sed formaliter; ita quod hoc verificari oportet de re formaliter significata. ita quod hoc verificari oportet de re formaliter significta. Et ratio assignata in littera complecitur utrumque necessarium ad hoc; scilicet et quod nomen salvatur formaliter; et quod illa ratio formalis est prior secundum rem caeteris: quod probatur, quia est causa caeterarum. Neutrum enim horum seorsus sufficeret ad concludendum nomina prius dici de illo, ut patet inductive: ratio enim sani in causa, licet sit prior secundum rem ratione sani in animali, quia tamen ratio sani non formaliter in causa est, posterius de causa dicitur; ratio quoque boni, licet sit formaliter in homini, non tamen prius dicitur de eo quam de aliis.{51}
In article six, St Thomas argues that, in names common to God and creature, God is the per prius of the name from the point of view of the res significata because he is not only the cause of the perfection in creatures but also that of which the perfection can be predicated essentialiter or substantialiter. For example, God is goodness, justice, being, etc. Cajetan finds this most congenial because it seems to agree with his own insistence on formaliter. Both God and creature are named good formaliter; therefore "good" in this case is more properly an analogous name. Where the perfection is not possessed formaliter by the various analogates, the name is less properly analogous and is, it would appear, indistinguishable from metaphor. We want to suggest that Cajetan is being misled here because of a special problem which arises in the divine names, misled into making into a distinct type of analogous name what is in fact only a difficult instance of analogy. one sign of this is the impression created that the possession of the perfection formaliter constitutes the analogy of names. And yet St Thomas leaves no doubt that a name could be analogously common to God and creature even if it was intended to signify God only causaliter. The difference would be that the creature would be the per prius of the name in a way he is not when God is intended to be named substantialiter. "De aliis autem nominibus, quae non metaphorice dicuntur de Deo, esset etiam eadam ratio, si sicerentur de Deo causaliter..."{52} Notice that on this hypothesis these names do not revert to metaphors. Cajetan, as we have seen, has a tendency to identify what he calls attribution with metaphor. It will be appreciated that if discussions about whether or not the analogates intrinsically possess the perfection signified by the name are incidental to the analogy of names as such, and not merely to what Cajetan calls attribution, the major basis for a distinction between attribution and proportionality will disappear.

    Secondly, Cajetan returns to the question as to whether the perfection of the creature is included in the name signifying a divine perfection. The difficulty arises from a remark in article two of question thirteen concerning the meaning of "good" in the statement, "God is good." St Thomas has said this: "id quod bonitatem in creaturis dicimus, emenentius in Deo praeexisit."{53} This would seem to indicate that created goodness enters into the notion signified by "good" as said of God, something which seems to go contrary to another text.{54} Yet another text{55} would seem to suggest that the reverse is true, since the names are said of creatures in ordine ad Deum. Cajetan suggests the following resolution.

Ad hoc breviter dicitur quod secundum veritatem, haec nomina dicuntur analogice, idest proportionaliter, et prius de Deo quam aliis: quia, cum in utrisque dicantur formaliter, formalitas tamen in Deo prior est, secundum rem, formalitate illa in aliis. Non tamen est sic prior, ut scilicet definiens est prius definito; sed est prior ut causa exem plaris saltem est prior exemplato. Et propterea, sicut omnia exemplata sunt talia in ordine ad exemplar, sic omnes creaturae dicuntur tales, puta bonae in ordine ad divinam bonitatem. Et sicut non oportet exemplata significari cum ordine ad exemplar, quamvis illud habeant, ita non oportet bonitatem creaturae significari in ordine ad bonitatem divinam, quamvis, secundum esse, illam semper respeciat ut exemplar. - Verba igitur 5 art., et similia, hic non sunt confutata, sed exposita: quod scilicet intelliguntur secundum esse, et non secundum significari, nisi fundamentaliter, pro quanto rationes formales per ea significatae in creaturis, fundat ordinem ad Deum ut causam.{56}
Cajetan here touches on a problem which occupied Sylvester of Ferrarra at some length and with which we ourselves will have to come to grips later on. If God is the per prius of names common to God and creatures, creatures should be denominated from God. And yet we know creatures first and we first apply to them names which later are seen to be applicable to God. Thus, God is named from creatures and in some sense creatures are named from God. But, just as creatures are first named without reference to God, it would seem that God can be named without reference to creatures. The problems, then, are obvious, but we shall insist that they are problems of the applicability of a doctrine of the analogy of names previously elaborated and do not call for the constitution of a new type of analogous name.

    Before leaving question thirteen, we want to call attention to article ten of that question, an article which does not arrest Cajetan's attention. There St Thomas maintains that the name "God" is analogous as applied to the true God, what is thought to be God and what is called God through participation.  "Et sic manifestum est quod alia et alia est significatio nominis, sed una illarum significaionum clauditur in significationibus aliis. Unde manifestum est quod analogice dicitur."{57} We can surmise that Cajetan would allow that this is an analogy of attribution, but not  properly and truly an analogous name. His reason would be that divine nature is not possessed by the secondary analogates. This whole approach of Cajetan's, that of extrinsic denomination, is based on his understanding of the contention that, in analogous names, the "ratio propria non invenitur nisi in uno," the equivalent of which is found in article six, question sixteen, Prima pars.

    In the article mentioned, St Thomas asks whether there is but one truth in terms of which everything is true. His reply is that in one way there is but one truth, in another way there are many truths.

Ad cuius evidentiam, sciendum est quod, quando aliquid praedicatur univoce de multis, illud in quolibet eorum secundum propriam rationem invenitur, sicut animal in qualibet specie animalis. Sed quando aliquid dicitur analogice de multis, illud invenitur secundum propriam rationem in uno eorum tantum, a quo alia denominantur. Sicut sanum dicitur de animali et urina et medicina, non quod sanitas sit nisi in animali tantum, sed a sanitate animalis denominatur medicina sana, inquantum est illius sanitatis effectiva, et urina, inquantum est illius sanitatis significativa. Et quamvis sanitas non sit in medicina, nequje in urina, tamen in utroque est aliquid per quod hoc quidem facit, illud autem significat sanitatem.{58}
St Thomas, on the basis of these remarks, is going on to speak of "true." The per prius of the word, that which saves its ratio propria, is intellect; the per posterius of the word is any thing in ordine ad Deum. If we speak of truth as it is in the intellect, secundum propriam rationem nominis, there are many truths in many intellects and indeed in the same intellect. If we are speaking of the truth in things, then they are all true by the first truth to which each is similar in its very being. Thus, though there are many forms or essences of things, there is one truth of the divine intellect in terms of which they are all denominated true.

    Cajetan raises three difficulties, two with respect to the per prius, one with respect to the per posterius, of the name "true."

    (1) What does it mean to say that the truth in the intellect is many?{59} Either this is not proved, or truth is found univocally in all intellects, at least in all created intellects. But this is false. The proof in the text is in terms of the differences between univocal and analogous names., and multiplicity is shown on the part of univocation, not analogy. Thus, either the point is not proved, or it is proved from univocity and not from analogy, from which it would follow that truth is found univocally in created intellects. Cajetan feels that it is clear from the text that the proof of multiplicity of truths must be from analogy. It cannot be proved from univocity because of the difference of truth in angelic and human intellects.

    (2) The second difficulty is this: "Quoniam si analogum in uno tantum secundum propriam rationem salvatur; et ex qu. 13 constat omnia nomina communia Deo et aliis analoga, et consequenter veritatem analogice inveniri in intellectu divino et aliis intellectibus, sequitur quod in multis intellectibus non sunt multae veritates, sed omnes intellectus sunt veri una sola veritate, scilicet intellectus divini. Et e converso, si veritas multiplicatur ad multiplicationem intellectuum verorum, ergo non per prius et posterius dicitur de eis: quia quod per prius et posterius dicitur, in uno tantum formaliter invenitur, ut littera sonat."{60}

    (3) With respect to the truth in things in ordine ad Deum: either they are named true by intrinsic or extrinsic denomination. "Et si sic, ergo res aut non sunt verae formaliter, quod est inconveniens, quia unaquaeque res habet in se propriam veritatem rei, qua dicitur vera, ut patet de sensu respectu proprii sensibilis. Aut sunt verae utroque modo; sicut in Qu. de bono dictum est quod omnia sunt bona bonitate divina exemplariter, finaliter et effective et tamen, cum hoc, sunt bonitatibus propriis formaliter bonae. Et si sic, ergo non sunt verae sola veritate divina."{61}

    That these objections arise out of his own understanding of the analogy of names will be immediately evident. It is also clear that the resolution of these doubts, particularly the second, is dictated by the doctrine of the De nominum analogia.

    Ad 1; Cajetan distinguishes two aspects of univocal predication: (a) to be predicated formally of its inferiors, and (b) to be predicated of them according to a formal ratio in every way the same. Its multiplication according to its subjects does not belong to it because of (b) but because of (a). But (a) is something which can be had in common by univocals and non-univocals. Thus, the multiplicity is due not to the fact that a name is univocal, but to the more general truth that "praedicatum formaliter (multiplicatur ad) multiplicationem subiectorum." And, since truth is formally predicated of all intellects, Cajetan can allow that truth is multiplied as intellects are, or in one intellect, without agreeing that "true" is univocal. "Meminit autem littera potius univoci quam praedicati formaliter, ut a notioribus traderetur disciplina."{62} We will reserve comment on this, since its full import emerges in the solution of the second difficulty.

    Ad 2; In replying to the second difficulty, Cajetan must, given the De nominum analogia, reject the rule stated in the text. This rejection is far more emphatic here than in the commentary on question thirteen.

Ad secundam vero dubitationem dicitur, quod illa regula de analoga tradita in littera, non est universalis de omni analgiae modo: imo, proprie loquendo ut patet I Ethic. nulli analogo convenit, sed conenit nominibus ad unum vel in uno aut ab uno, quae nos  abusive vocamus analoga. Veritas autem, si comparetur ad res  et intellectus, est nomen ab uno: quoniam in intellectu solo est veritas, a qua res dicuntur vera3. Si vero comparetur ad intellectus inter se, est nomen analogum: nam proportionaliter salvatur, formaliter tamen, in quolibet intellectu cognoscente verum. Esse ergo nomen aliquod secundum propriam rationem in uno tantum, est conditio nominum quae sunt ad unum, aut ab uno, etc. et non nomen proportionaliter dictorum. Veritas autem, respectu intellectu divini et aliorum, proportionale nomen est. Et ideo non sequitur quod in solo Deo sit. Iam enim  dictum est in solutione primi dubii, quod omni praeicato formaliter de prluribus convenit plurificri ad plurificationem subiectorum, sive illud sit univocum, ut animal, sive proportionale, ut ens, etc. De huiusmodi autem differentia nominum plene scriptum invenies in tractatu de Anlogia nominum.{63)

From this solution, it is abundantly clear that, despite the hesitancy and confusion which attended the first condition of his "analogy of attribution," Cajetan feels that to say that the ratio propria of an analogously common name is saved in only one of the things to which it is common is to say that the others can only be denominated such extrinsically. That is why he must say that "true" is not really said analogously of intellect and things. Moreover, Cajetan must then say that the truly analogous name is such that the perfection signified by it is found according to its ratio propria in each of the analogates. But this, according to the text before us, is to make analogous names univocal. The distinction Cajetan offers in the answer to the first difficulty has the unintended effect of indicating that his problems are illusory. Everything stems from his understanding of ratio propria.{64) He takes the phrase "praedicari secundum rationem propriam" to say something which is not peculiar to univocal names, but common to univocal and truly analogous names. What he takes it to mean is "praedicari formaliter," i.e. to be predicated as intrinsic to that of which it is said. Thus there must be something intrinsic to the secondary analogates in virtue of which they receive the common name. And if this intrinsic base is thought to found the name formaliter so that they too save the ratio propria, we arrive at Cajetan's position. His position, moreover, is intended to enable him to distinguish between such names as "healthy," on the one hand, and "true" said of the human and divine intellects, on the other. But as St Thomas says explicitly in the text before us, there is something in medicine and urine thanks to which they are named "healthy" with reference to the healthy animal. So too there is something in things whereby they are named true with reference to God. The point is that "healthy" will not signify the same ratio as applied to animal and medicine, nor will "true" applied to human and divine intellects. In every one of these examples it is the case that the ratio propria of the name is saved in only one of those things of which the common name is said. Despite the difficulties which attend the divine names, their solution does not lead to the position that the ratio propria of the common name is saved in God and creatures, for that would make the name univocally common. A good indication that Cajetan is going wrong is had in the necessity he feels to reject clear-cut statements about the analogy of names in the text of St Thomas. when St Thomas says something about analogous names, Cajetan tells us the saint is abusing terms. Surely what a commentator should do is determine how an author uses his terms. There is no justification whatsoever in the texts of St Thomas for saying that "healthy" and "true" (said of intellect and things) are only abusively called analogous names. What must be found is an interpretation of St Thomas' doctrine on the analogy of names which does not entail the dismissal of most of what he has to say on the subject. It is not of minor importance that elsewhere St Thomas faces an objection which sounds very much like the solution Cajetan offers in his commentary on article six, question sixteen, Prima pars.{65}

    Ad 3: This is in function of "licet plures sunt essentiae vel formae rerum, tamen una est veritas, etc." in the text. Things may be called "good" both intrinsically and extrinsically, but they are called "true" only extrinsically. "...verae autem dicuntur extrinseca tantum denominatione, ita quod nulla est in rebus formaliter veritas: sed initative seu adimpletive respectu intellectus divini et causaliter respectu nostri intellectus speculativi."{66} What Cajetan means by saying that there is no truth in things is that they do not save the ratio propria of the word.|

In this section, we have tried both to indicate what Cajetan has taught about the analogy of names and to suggest certain difficulties involved in accepting his interpretation of St Thomas. First of all, there is a difficulty involved in accepting his distinction between analogy of attribution and analogy of proper proportionality. This follows from the confusion generated by any attempt to deny the universality of the dictum that "quando aliquid dicitur analogice de multis, illud invenitur secundum propriam rationem in uno eorum tantum, a quo alia denominatur."{57} To deny this is to deny that the name is said per prius et posterius: it is not enough to say that God who saves the ratio propria of the name is cause of the creature who also saves the ratio propria, since this is the case with univocal causes. What is more, Cajetan seems to have no way of distinguishing analogous names from metaphors. The most important difficulty, one which involves the others, is that Cajetan far too readily rejects what to all appearances are formal statements by St Thomas on the analogy of names. Doubtless he felt this was called for  by other texts, but it is surely evident that the systematization of the De nominum analogia is exerting an overwhelming influence on Cajetan when he comments on the Summa.

    We shall turn now to the examination of another commentator on St Thomas, Sylvester of Ferrara. While at all times feeling the influence of Cajetan, Sylvester continues to let the text before him speak for itself and this leads to a number of statement which paved the way for some measure of disagreement with Cajetan.


In commenting on the first Book of the Summa Contra Gentiles, chapter thirty-four, which sets out to show that things said of God and creatures are said analogously, Sylvester takes into account other texts of St Thomas as well as the interpretation made of them by Cajetan. Before examining Sylvester's comments, we will first outline the chapter itself.

    In the two preceding chapters, St Thomas has argued that nothing can be said univocally of God and creature and that not all names said of God and creature are purely equivocal. There remains the possibility that some things are said of God and creature analogically, and this is what  St Thomas wishes to show to be true. He does two things in chapter thirty-four: he proposes a division of things named analogically, and distinguishes the order of priority and posteriority based on the ratio nominis from that based on the res named. First, the division of things said "analogice: hoc est, secundum ordinem vel respectum ad aliquid unuum."

Quod quidem dupliciter contingit, Uno modo, secundum quod multahabent respectum ad aliquid unum: sicut secundum respectum ad unam sanitatem animal dicitur sanum ut eius subiectum, medicina ut eius effectivum, cibus ut conservativum. urina ut signum. Alio modo, secundum quod duorum attenditur ordo vel resspectus, non secundum quod accidens ad substantiam respectum habet, non secundum quod substatntia et accidens ad aliquid tertium referantur.{65}

These two modes of analogous names are presented as exhaustive; consequently, names said analogically of God and creature must represent one of these modes. They are in fact analogous in the second mode, since if they were instances of the first, it would be necessary to posit something prior to God.

    Secondly, St Thomas observes that in analogical predication it is sometimes the case that there is the same order according to the name and in reality, although at other times this is not the case. There can be a difference because the order of the name follows the order of knowledge, the name being a sign of what we know. Thus, if what is primary in reality is also what we first know, the same thing can be primary secundum nominis rationem et secundum rei naturam. This is the case with things named being: substance is prior to accident in reality, for it is the cause of the latter; it is also prior in knowledge since substance enters into the definition of accident. "Et ideo ens dicitur prius de substantia quam de accidente et secundum rei naturam et secundum nominis rationem."{69} Of course, when what is prior in reality is posterior so far as our knowledge is concerned, the order of the name will not reflect the real order of priority and posteriority: "sicut virtus sanandi quae est in sanavitis, prior est naturaliter sanitate quae est in animali, sicut causa effectu; sed quia hanc virtutem per effectum cognoscimus, ideo etiam ex effectu nominamus. Et inde est quod sanativum est prius ordine rei, sed animal dicitur per prius sanum secundum nominis rationem."{70} Since we name as we know and must move from the things around us as effects to God as their cause, the extension of names originally imposed to signify created perfections to God brings it about that the order of the name is just the reverse of the real order. in reality, God is first, but since he is not first known by us, he cannot be primary in the notion signified by the name.

    Sylvester raises three difficulties in commenting on this chapter. (1) First, with respect to St Thomas' denial that the first mode of analogy is applicable to the case in point because this would necessitate positing something prior to God: what kind of priority is envisaged? If priority in reality, the conclusion would not follow, since health, in the example of things called healthy, is not prior in reality; rather it is medicine which is prior in the real order. If priority in the notion signified by the name is meant, it is surely not absurd that in this way something be prior to God. (2) Secondly, the mode here assigned to the divine names seems incompatible with article eleven, question two of the De veritate where it is denied that something is said of God and creature because of a similarity or proportion of one to the other. (3) Finally, article five, question three, Prima pars, seems to deny that something can be prior to God according to the notion of a name: "Deo nihil est prius nec secundum rem nect secundum intellectum."

    We shall be concerned only with the first two difficulties. Sylvester briefly dismisses the third by pointing out that the meaning of the remark is not that we cannot know something prior to God but that we cannot understand  that something is prior to God.

    Ad 1: St Thomas is speaking of priority in the real order. Sylvester would have us realize that, in the first mode of analogy, it sometimes happens that, with respect to what is formally and per se signified by the name, only one of the things is denominated intrinsically, whereas the others are denominated extrinsically, thanks only to their reference to it. Sometimes, however, what is formally signified by the name is had by the secondary analogates too, and then there is an intrinsic denomination of them as well. An example of the first is "healthy": health (sanitas) is found only in the animal, and he is denominated healthy (sanum) intrinsically; medicine and food, on the other hand, are denominated healthy extrinsically, with reference to the health of the animal. The second possibility is exemplified by "being," since what is formally signified by the name formally is in substance, quality and quantity. "In utroque ergo modo verum est quod aliquid est prius secundum rem utroque eorum quae analogice dicuntur in ordine ad tertium."{71} The two modes of which Sylvester speaks are not, of course, the two modes mentioned by St Thomas, but rather a subdivision of the first mode of the text. The upshot of his remarks is that, whatever else might be said of things named analogously in the first mode, it is true that this mode implies that something is prior in reality to the many which are named with reference to another. That is, the statement of St Thomas is true of the fist mode whatever examples be adduced with whatever attendant differences secundum rem.

    Yet Sylvester remains in difficulty with respect to what St Thomas has said of "healthy." His analysis {72} has led to the conclusion that in things named healthy, animal is per prius of the name and is prior secundum rem. But, in exemplifying the difference between the order of a name and the order of reality, St Thomas points out that medicine, as cause of the health of the animal, is really prior though named only secondarily by "healthy."{73)

Dicitur quod non loquitur Sanctus Thomas de formali et primo significato sani, de quo locuti sumus, sed de materiali, et fundamento respectus ad sanitatem, virtus enim sanativa non significatur  formaliter nomine sani, sed materialiter. Unde voluit dicere quod sanum, secundum quod dicitur de sanitivo, dicitur de re naturaliter. priori: virtus enim sanativa est prior sanitate. Sed tamen, quia ella res non signficicatur formaliter, sed tantum materialiter, tanquam fundamentum respectus ad sanitatem animalis; ideo sanum dictum de animali et sanativo, quantum af fundamtntum undehabet sanativumut significetut nomine sani per habitudinem ad sanitatem animalis, prius dicitur secundum rem de sanativo quam de animali; quia videlicet virtus sanativa est naturaliter prior sanitate, sicut causa effectu.{74}

With respect to what is formally signified by the name, however, animal is prior in the real order, not medicine.

    This resolution of Sylvester's is a curious one, and he himself is dissatisfied by it, for he comes at the same problem once more.{75} "Healthy" can be considered analogous in either of two ways, by one of which animal is per prius secundum rem, by the other,  medicine. (Again the reader must be warned against confusing Sylvester's two modes with the two modes of the chapter he is supposedly commenting.) We can consider "healthy" from the point of view of what is properly and formally signified by the term and thus "non tantum secundum nominis rationem et impositionem, sed etiam secundum rem significatum prius convenit animali quam aliis."{76} What is the second way of considering the example?

Si autem accipiatur tanquam plura primo significans ex parte rei, scilicet et ipsamhumorum debitam proportionem, quod est proprium significatum, a qua medicinaextrinsice dicitur sana, et sanativum virtutem, secundum quod intrinsice et formaliter,licet improprie, medicine dicitur sana; sic ad secundum analogiae modum pertinet,et prius secundum rem dicitur de medicina quam de animali; licet secundum nominisrationem sit e converso, inquantum prius formavimus conceptum sub quo humorumproportionem significat, quam conceptum sub quo virtutem significat sanativam.{77}
It is quite clear from this that the two modes of analogy Sylvester is speaking of are not those distinguished in the text of St Thomas. "Healthy" could be used to exemplify either the analogy of many things to one, or of one thing to another, and in both cases, medicine would be prior in reality. St Thoms is quite unconcerned with the difficulties Sylvester is raising and has no hesitation in saying that medicine, and not the animal, is prior in the order of reality to animal with respect to "healthy." Sylvester is encountering difficulties precisely because he wants to speak of the ordo rerum in terms of the ordo rationis nominis while weighting the latter in terms of intrinsic denomination. He wants animal to be first in the real order because it is denominated healthy from an inherent form; the only way he can grudgingly admit that medicine is first in the real order is by saying that it too is denominated from an inherent form. What St Thomas is getting at is that the health of the animal, as effect of medicine, is thereby posterior even though medicine is denominated healthy with reference to a quality of the animal, namely a balance of the humors. It takes no scholarly sleuth to see the influence of Cajetan in the difficulties Sylvester is raising.

    But Sylvester is not yet done. Obviously aware of the source of his difficulties, he proposes to compare his contention that the "formale et per se significatum nominis analogi aliquando inveniri in uno tantum, aliquando vero in omnibus"{78} with St Thomas' assertion that, in things named analogously, "nomen secundum propriam rationem invenitur in uno tantum, a quo alia denominatur."{79} Reconciliation is to be had by noting that "ratio propria" can be understood in two ways.

Nam per propriam rationem duo possumus intelligere: scilicet rationem sive naturam primo et principaliter importatum, per comparationem ad quam alia dicuntur talia, - haec enim dicitur propria ratio nominis, quod primo et principaliter importatur, et nomen analogum, absolute prolatum, accipitur pro illo significato, ut dicitur I Perihermeneias, lect. 5, sicut nomen entis absolute dictum, accipitur pro substantia aut rationem omnem formaliter per nomen importatum.{80}

St Thomas, Sylvester points out, is using "ratio propria" in the first way in the Summa Theologiae and thus his statement is true. Sylvester himself has been using it in the second way, a way he feels is justified by another text of St Thomas {81} according to which formal and proper signification means "exists in" that which is named. The echo of Cajetan becomes even more audible. St Thomas, in the text from the Prima pars, is not speaking of analogy "in tota sua communitate et universaliter" but only of those things said ab uno aut ad unum, this being sufficient for his purposes there. "Nos autem locuti sumus universaliter de analogo. Si enim universaliter accipiatur, constat quod aliquod invenitur in uno tantum secundum suum formale significatum, aliquod vero in omnibus invenitur."{82}

    Thus, although Sylvester's first interpretation of "ratio propria" - which happens to be the correct one - enables St Thomas' statement to be universal and indifferent to "exists in" and "does not exist in," Sylvester ends by preferring the second, incorrect meaning, rendering St Thomas' statement a partial one. For to call his own disjunctive view the more universal implies, of course, that the second way of understanding "ratio propria" is the correct one.

    Ad 2: Sylvester prepares for the statement of his solution by pointing out that much confusion is generated in discussions of analogy because the Greeks use the term in a more narrow way than do the Latins. The Greek use is the vera analogiae ratio, however, and St Thomas is said to have it in mind when he says that between God and creature there may be a proportionality but not a proportion, "quae magis dicitur aequivocatio a consilio ab uno aut ad unum, quam analogica significatio."{83} Once more the Cajetanian bias and once more, immediately after, a more independent view. Sylvester cannot ignore the fact that St Thomas holds that God and creature are named analogously because of a relation "unius ad alterum"; he therefore proposes a twofold interpretation of "unius ad alterum," first as distinguished from "multorum ad unum," and secondly as distinguished from analogy of proportionality.{84} In the first way, the phrase is common to proportion and proportionality, that is, either a determinate or indeterminate relation of one thing to another. Thus God and creature involve an analogy "unius ad alterum" because no third thing is prior to them as they receive a common name. Taken in the second way, since there is an infinite distance between them, the common name does not involve the "unius ad alterum" "ita scilicet quod ex uno aliud comprehendi et terminari per intellectum possit."{85} There is, then, no contradiction between the De veritate and the text of the Contra Gentiles before us.

    Sylvester is not finished. In chapter thirty-two of the first book of the Summa Contra Gentiles, St Thomas, in speaking of the "analogia Dei ad creaturam," said that it was one "in qua prius ponitur in definitione posterius, sicut substantia in definitione accidentis." But this is elsewhere{86} said to be true of proportion and not of proportionality. Sylvester proposes two solutions of this difficulty, one in the spirit of Cajetan, another more intricate one he feels is better.

    First of all, then, it is not necessarily the case that, in a proportionality, what is first is put in the definition of what is secondary. Sylvester warns that he is speaking of names signifying properly and formally both the prius and the posterius (i.e. denominating both intrinsically) and suggests that all other analogous names are metaphors.{87} The rule{88} that in all things named analogously, the first is placed in the definition of the second, is not universal at all. It can be applied to things related by proportion, like things named being or (by the metaphor?) healthy. As for chapter thirty-two of the first book of the Contra Gentiles, St Thomas is making the point that nothing is said of God and creature univocally by appealing to an obvious example of what is said secundum prius et posterius, an example of a proportion in which the first happens to be put in the definition of the second. But the divine names involve a proportionality and St Thomas is leaving much unsaid.

   A second resolution, one Sylvester feels is closer to the thought of St Thomas, begins by asserting that in every mode of analogy it is true that what is the first enters into the definition of the secondary precisely insofar as they are considered as named analogously. There is no difficulty in accepting this when the "ordo secundum rationem nominis" coincides with that "secundum rem." Where these two orders differ, the name imposed to signify that which is posterior in the real order is said of it in two ways, absolutely or analogically. Sylvester distinguishes three steps in nameing when the two orders differ. First, what is posterior in reality is considered absolutely and the word is imposed to signify it via that absolute conception of it; then inquiry leads to knowledge of that which is prior in reality and the name is extended to signify it. Finally, seeing the relation of what is posterior in reality to what is posterior in reality, not absolutely this time, but with reference to what is prior in reality. Take the example of "wisdom." The word is first imposed to signify human wisdom as such, absolutely; when we see that our wisdom proceeds from God's, we extend the term to signify the divine wisdom; finally, it is imposed to signify human wisdom with respect to divine wisdom, its cause and exemplar. According to the first imposition, the primary analogate is not put into the definition of human wisdom, for the latter is named absolutely, univocally, not analogically. "Secundum autem quod analogice sumitur, quod convenit sibi secundum tertium impositionem, perfectio divina ponitur in definitione perfectionis creaturae ut eodem nomine significatur."{89}

     This second solution enables Sylvester to save all the texts of St Thomas, even those he has earlier adjudged to be adopting something less than a universal vantage point. Thus it is true to say, as St Thomas does,{90} that in all things named analogously what is prior enters in the definition of the posterior. So too the statement{91} that whatever is said of God and creature is said insofar as one is ordered to the other is saved. When St Thomas seems to deny this,{92} he only means to stress the infinite distance between God and creature.

    Sylvester is drawn in two directions in this commentary. On the one hand, while he will sometimes adopt Cajetan's attitude towards difficult texts, he always retains the commendable desire to honor St Thomas' statements at their face value; on the other hand, he is convinced that Cajetan's opusculum has, in the main, faithfully presented the doctrine of St Thomas on analogous names - to the point of referring his reader to that work for the resolution of any problems he may have left. The result, unfortunately is hybrid and not a little confusing. Despite the chapter he is commenting, Sylvester continually speaks of two modes of analogy which are not those given by St Thomas. So too, though he faces up to the problem of the "ratio propria," he opts for an understanding of the phrase which has nothing to do with St Thomas' use of it, a preference which can only be explained by the influence of Cajetan. the final conciliation of all the troublesome texts, the highpoint of the commentary, does not erase the memory of what has gone before: it would certainly be wrong to say that Sylvester presents us with a clear alternative to Cajetan's interpretation. Nevertheless, on the points where Sylvester has offered his independent view, a basis is provided for a bifurcation in subsequent interpretations. Yet what we find are not so much different interpretations as different emphases: the basic outlook of Cajetan is retained.
This glance at Cajetan and Sylvester is sufficient to set the stage for our own study; the majority of subsequent interpretations moves within the context of Cajetan's systematization. Where this is less obviously so, even where Cajetan is subjected to severe criticism, Cajetan's elevation of the analogy of names into a metaphysical question is never seriously questioned. We refer the reader to Lyttkens' book for a discussion of some later variations.{93}

    To conclude this introductory chapter, we suggest that if, after reading Cajetan, one poses some fundamental questions, he will find himself rather hard pressed to answer them. For example, what is an analogous name? To what discipline does it belong to answer this question? If there are kinds of analogous name, in terms of what are they distinguished? (Obviously the criteria chosen will follow on our answer to the previous question.) In the following study, we shall try to present the thought of St Thomas on the analogy of names in such a way that the fundamental and basic questions can receive an answer.


{1} Aristotle, On the Heavens, trans. J. L. Stocks, I, 10. 279b5-9.

{2} Cajetan, Scripta Philosophica: De Analogia Nominum; De Conceptu Entis, ed. P. N. Zammit, O.P., (revised, P.M. Hering, O.P.; Romae, 1952), pp. xv-xvi.

{3} Cf. Etienne Gilson, "Cajetan et l'existence," Tijdschrift voor Philosophie, (June, 1953)

{4} Cajetan, op. cit., n. 2.

{5} Ibid.

{6}Ibid. n.3.

{7} Cajetan, Scripta Philosophica: Commentaria in Praedicamenta Aristotelis, ed. M. H. Laurent, O.P., (Romae, 1939), pp. 8-14.

{8} De analogia nominum, ed. cit., n. 4.

{9} Ibid, n. 5.

{10} Ibid.

{11} Ibid., n. 6.

{12} Ibid., n. 7.

{13} Ibid., n. 8.

{14} Ibid.

{15} Ibid.

{16} Ibid., n. 10.

{17} Ibid., n. 11.

{18} Ibid.

{19} Cf. ibid., nn. 40, 77.

{20} Ibid., n. 11.

{21} Ibid., n. 12.

{22} Ibid., n. 13.

{23} Ibid., n. 14.

{24} Ibid., n. 15.

{25} Ibid., n. 16.

{26} Ibid., n. 17.

{27} Ibid., n. 18.

{28} Ibid., n. 20.

{29} Ibid., n. 21.

{30} Ibid., n. 22.

{31} Ibid., n. 23.

{32} Ibid., n. 24.

{33} Ibid., n. 25.

{34} Ibid.

{35} Ibid., n. 26.

{36} Ibid., n. 27.

{37} Ibid., n. 28.

{38} Ibid.

{39} Ibid., n. 29.

{40} Ibid., n. 30.

{41} Ia,  q. 13, a. 5. For our mode of reference to the texts of St Thomas, see below, Appendix.

{42} Cajetan, In Iam, q. 13, a. 5, n. XIV.

{43} Ibid., n. I.

{44} Ia, q. 13, a. 6.

{45} Q.D. de ver.,  q. 2, a. 11, ad 6.

{46} Cajetan, In Iam q. 13, a. 6, n. III.

{47} Ibid.,  n. IV.

{48} Ibid. n. III.

{49} Caajetan doubtless has in mind Q.D. de ver., q. 21, a. 4, ad 2.

{50} Cajetan, In Iam, q. 13, a. 4, n. IV.

{51} Ibid., a. 6, n. X.

{52} Ia, q. 13, a. 6.

{53} Ibid., a. 2.

{54} Q.D. de ver.,  q. 2, a. 11, ad 6.

{55} Ia, q. 13, a. 5.

{56} In Iam, q. 13, a. 6, n. XII.

{57} Ia, q. 13, a. 10.

{58} Ia q. 16, a. 6.

{59} In Iam, q. 16, a 6, n. II.

{60} Ibid.,  n. III.

{61} Ibid.,  n. IV.

{62} Ibid.,  n. V.

{63} Ibid., n. VI.

{64} For another treatment of ratio propria, see Cajetan, In Iam  q. 13, a. 9, n. VII.

{65} Cf. I Sent., d. 19, q. 5, a. 2, obj. 1.

{66} In Iam. q. 16, a. 6, n..

{67} Ia q. 16, a. 6.

{68} Summa Contra Gentiles, I, 34.

{69} Ibid.

{70} Ibid.

{71} Sylvester of Ferrara, In I Contra Gentiles, cap. 34, n. III.

{72} Ibid.,  n. IV.

{73} Cf. ibid., n. V.

{74} Ibid.

{75} Ibid., n. V. 2

{76} Ibid.

{77} Ibid.

{78} Ibid.,n. VI.

{79} Either Sylvester is quoting from memory or the editors have put quotation marks around an accurate paraphrase.

{80} Loc. cit. n. VI.

{81} I Sent.,  d. 19, q. 5, a. 2, ad 1.

{82} Sylvester, loc. cit., n. VI.

{83} Ibid., n. VII.

{84} Ibid., n. VII, 2.

{85} Ibid.

{86} Q.D. de ver., q. 2, a. 11, ad 6.

{87} Sylvester, loc. cit., n. VIII.

{88} Cf. Ia, q. 13, a. 6.

{89} Sylvester, loc. cit., n. IX.

{90} Ia, q. 13, aa. 6, 10.

{91} Ia, q. 13, a. 5.

{92} Q. D. de ver. q. 2. a. 11, ad 6.

{93} Hampus Lyttkens,  The Analogy between God and the World, (Uppsala, 1952).

© 2012 by the Estate of Ralph McInerny.
All rights reserved including the right to translate
or reproduce this book or parts thereof in any form.

<< ======= >>