Jacques Maritain Center : Studies in Analogy / by Ralph McInerny


Clearly the difficulty we have posed for ourselves will find its solution in a proper understanding of the nature of analogical signification. The texts we have set down above and the preliminary remarks we have made concerning them imply an understanding of a number of connected matters. We have spoken of words, of naming, of different ways things can be named, of the notions signified by a word; most importantly, we have spoken of analogous, univocal and purely equivocal names as if these were quite manifest in their nature. Doubtless to many all these matters are clear and evident; however, while in no way pretending to say all that must be known if such matters are to become clear, we must, given our problem and our mode of posing it, attempt to set forth some of the more obvious elements of the matters just mentioned. If our presentation is accurate, it will be of great help in the sequel; if, on the other hand, our understanding of these suppositions to any solution of our problem should unfortunately be false of basically misleading, the solution we shall propose can be rejected in its roots and another offered against the background of a correct statement of the presuppositions.

1. The Imposition of Names

At the outset of his work On Interpretation, Aristotle points out that written words are signs of spoken words and spoken words are signs of concepts{1} (or "passions of the soul"-we shall return to this terminology), whereas concepts are likenesses of things. It is significant that while words are called signs, concepts are called similitudes, likenesses or images, for a sign is, properly speaking, a sensible thing. If we should be asked what is meant by "sign," we might point to the red octagonal metal pieces erected at street corners; or to those plaques placed along-side highways on which are emblazoned curved arrows, etc. (perhaps the common road signs used throughout Europe would be the best example - if we were Europeans). As anyone knows who takes a driver's test, the shape of these signs, or the images on them, are suppoed to tell us something. Should someone be asked in such a test what a given sign is and answer that it is an octagon, he would show that he knows something, of course, but not how such a shape functions as a sign. A sign is something which, when it is known, makes something else known. Thus, smoke is a sign of fire; the turning of the leaves is a sign that winter is coming; footprints in the sand are signs that someone has been here before. If all our examples are of sensible things which are signs, this is because the sign is, properly speaking, sensible; if a sign is what is first known and yet makes something other itself known, it must be more obvious and more easily known than that of which it is a sign. It is because sensible things are most obvious to us that they can function as signs. As we shall point out presently, if we say of something which is not sensible that it is a sign, we shall have to explain what we mean by going back to what is most properly a sign, namely, sensible things.

    We have discussed the notion of sign by means of examples of conventional and natural signs. No decision on our part, no act of will, constitutes smoke as a sign of fire; that is all we mean by calling a sign natural. Language, like traffic signs, involves human choice in order that certain sensible things be constituted as signs. We are now interested only in common nouns and how they come to be signs. The term "imposition" is used in this connection and, in ordinary English, to impose on someone is to do violence, to a greater or lesser degree, with more or less politeness. To speak to another person of something of great interest to us and of no interest to him is an imposition. This use of the term is not very relevant to our purposes. Imponere suggests putting on, adding to, and connotes the voluntary on the part of the one doing the imposing. Something like that is involved in talk of the "imposition of a word to signify." What is material in the word, the spoken word which is primary, is noise emanating from the throat. Some such noises are signs straight off, without further ado from us: a groan, a sigh, a scream signify in quite natural fashion subjective states of the one emitting them.(Peter and the Wolf is not a threat to this, but rather a confirmation of it.) This type of vocal sign can be said to be be common to man and brute. Human language, specifically human vocal sounds, has its source in practical intelligence and will. It is agreed that such and such a sound will mean so-and-so.{2} Thus "man," for example, is an artificial sign which can be used to stand for such things as Plato, Socrates, etc. Unlike smoke with reference to fire, something must mediate between this noise and these things for it to be a sign of them, a mediation which Aristotle speaks of in terms of "passions of the soul"; that is, what we know of such things. A word is not immediately a sign of things in the way in which smoke is a sign of fire; rather it is immediately a sign of what we know which, in turn, is a likeness of what these things are. Language is properly a sign since it is sensible (audible primarily, visible secondarily), and it is an artificial sign because is is imposed to signify, thus implying choice, arbitrariness, convention.{3} When we say that the word is immediately the sign of what we know, this must not be understood as necessarily implying that the signification is of a thing as it is known. We are presently engaged in the analysis of a logical intention, i.e. conventional signification. This involves reflection on what we do when we use language insofar as this is a sign of the order among things as known. Thus we say that what a word signifies is a notion or ratio; ratio is a relation of the concept to the word imposed to signify it. In our use of words (i.e. nomina rerum){4} we do not attend to the status of things as known, but to what things are. This leads to a point we mentioned earlier.

    Words are signs of concepts, Aristotle has said, and concepts are likenesses of things. Why doesn't he say that concepts are signs of things? Two very good reasons why this is not done are, first, that the concept is immaterial and not sensible{5} and, secondly, that we do not first know concepts and find ourselves led on to knowledge of something else. Because it is neither sensible nor magis notum nobis, the concept is not properly a sign.

2. Id a quo nomen imponitur

We have said that we name things as we know them. Now what are easily and first known to us are sensible things, which are complex, and our concrete names, while they signify the whole, will be taken from what is obvious to us in these things. Thus, St. Thomas often distinguished between that from which our names are imposed to signify, and that which they are imposed to signify. His favorite example in manifesting this distinction is the term lapis. That from which the term is imposed to signify is an effect,{6} namely to bruise our feet when we stumble against it (laesio pedis), but this is not what the term signifies, for then anything we stumble on would be called a stone.{7} Rather the term is imposed to signify a certain kind of body. It will be noticed that that from which the name is imposed is what we would call its etymology. As a general rule, a name's signification and its etymology differ.{8} When the name is taken to signify that from which it is imposed to signify, it is said to signify minus proprie.{9} Where there is this difference between what the term signifies and that from which it is imposed, the latter will always be something sensible and manifest and can provide a fitting bridge to what the term signifies when this is something abstract and difficult to know. As instruments of teaching, words must lead the learner naturally and easily from what is already evident to him.{10}

There are some words in which there appears to be no distinction between that from which they are imposed and what they signify. "If indeed there are some things which are known to us in themselves (secundum se), such as heat, cold, whiteness and the like, they are not denominated from other things. In such things therefore what the name signifies is the same as that from which the name is imposed to signify."{11} If anything can be said to be directly and immediately known by uis, it will be the proper sensibles, and what is thus most basic in our knowledge will not be denominated from something else, since this would imply appeal to something more obvious. "Heat" is denominated from the very sensible quality it signifies: so too with "cold," "smoothness," etc.

    There is another way to speak of denomination, namely insofar as the thing is denominated from that which is formal in it, that is, from the specific difference. "A name however is said to be imposed from that which is as the constitutive difference and not from the notion of the genus."{12} Thus the name "man" is imposed from the difference rational. Now when that from which the name is imposed to signify is not an accident or effect, but the difference, the name which names from it will be said to signify the difference primarily. The emphasis here is on "primarily" which does not, of course, mean exclusively since then the name of the species and that of the difference would be synonyms. Rather when the name is imposed from that which is most formal in the thing, it is imposed from that which completes the ratio signifed by the name.{13} The res significata of the name "man" will be a compound to whose components the integral parts of the ratio nominis, e.g. genus and difference, answer in a certain fashion.{14}

3. Ways of Signifying

Human nature comprises body and soul and if the soul is as form to the body, the whole nature is formal with respect to such individuals as Socrates and Plato. There are different ways of signifying this same thing, human nature, something which can be brought out by considering the difference between "man" and "humanity." Both these terms signify the same thing, the same nature, but they do so in different ways. These ways are designated as the concrete and abstract, respectively.{15} The concrete name of the nature signifies it as subsistent by not prescinding, in its mode of signifying, from the individuals in which the nature is found, by allowing for individual characters, (although, of course, they are not expressed). Thus "man" can be directly predicated of Socrates, whereas "humanity" cannot. "It is thus evident that the essence of man is signified by this name man and by this name humanity, but in different ways, as has been said, because this name man signifies it as a whole, in that it does not prescind the designation of matter, but implicitly and indistinctly contains it, as the genus has been said to contain difference; therefore this name man is predicated of individuals; but this name humanity signifies it as a psrt, because it contains only that which is of man insofar as he is man, and prescinds all designation of matter; hence it is not predicated of individual men."{16}

4. Ways of Being Named

Having looked at the different ways in which the nature or essence can be signified, we turn now to the way in which things can have a name or be named. It is here that we shall endeavor to discern what is meant by an analogous name, and, as we have already pointed out, such a name is discussed with reference to univocal and equivocal names.

    Thiings are said to be named equivocally when they have a name in common but not one signification. That is, the community is solely one of the word, since once we ask what the word signifies quite different things would be mentioned. By things here, we mean diverse rationes: that is why the equivocal name is said to be divided by the res significatae. "Things" here does not mean individuals to whom the name is applied, of course, for then the univocal term would have to be called equivocal.{17} Multiple signification is not had in terms of diverse supposits in which the nature signified by the name is found, and of wStudies in Analogy: hich, consequently, it can be predicated, but in terms of res significatae, i.e. diverse rationes signified by the name. For example, in these propositions, "He stood fast" and "He broke his fast," the word "fast" does not mean the same thing, though the pronoun might stand for Alcibiades in both cases, since the signification of the word is different in these two uses. If our example is well taken, we would be hard put to it to explain why the same word has been used to signify such utterly different things. (Our perplexity would be increased if we were asked to relate these meanings of "fast," fixity of position, non-consumption of food, with a third: great rate of speed.){18}

    To understand the equivocal term is already in some way to understand what is meant by the univocal term. Things are said to be named univocally which share not only a name but a single meaning. We say John is a man and Peter is a man; or man is an animal and horse is an animal, and "man" and "animal" mean the same thing in the two instances of their predication. The univocal name, and this applies only to the generic name, is said to be divided by differences: thus while man and horse are alike in what is signified by "anima," they differ by something not expressed by that term, namely in this that the one is rational and the other is not.

    The analogical name is one which does not fit in either of the above classifications. "With those things which are said in the way mentioned, the same name is predicated of diverse things according to a notion (ratio) partly the same and partly diverse; diverse with respect to diverse maodes of relation, the same however, with respect to that to which the relation is made. For to be a sign and to be causative of, are diverse, but health is one. On account of this they are called analogates, because they are proportioned to one."{19} "And this mode of community is midway between pure equivocation and simple univocation. For in things which are said analogically, there is neither one notion, as is the case with univocals, nor totally diverse notions, as with equivocals, but a name which is thus said in many ways signifies diverse proportions to some one thing, as healthy said of urine signifies a sign of the health of the animal, but said of medicine it signifies a cause of the same health."{20} Because it signifies different things, the analogous name is sometimes called equivocal, but this is to take "equivocal" in a wide sense (i.e. analogously, as we shall see),{21} so that it no longer means "purely equivocal." In the strict sense of "equivocal," it is impossible, as we suggested earlier, to discover any reason why the same name has come to mean the different things it does. It is with this in mind that one would say that it just does or it happens to signify these different things. With the analogous name, however, there is good reason why the same word is used with many meanings, as the example of "healthy" shows so well. The variety of meanings of this term, we would feel, didn't come about just by chance, but purposely.{22} Let us now look at a comparison of the analogous and univocal names.

    The most succinct statement of their difference is this: "...when something is predicated univocally of many, it is found in each of them according to its proper signification (ratio propria), as animal in each species of animal. But when something is said analogously of many, it is found according to its proper signification in only one of them from which the others are denominated."{23} In order to grasp the meaning of this comparison, we muct establish the meaning of ratio propria.

    We saw above, in our discussion of that from which the name is imposed, that on the part of the thing, this will be the specific difference,. Such a difference completes the ratio of the thing the name signifies,{24} as rational completes the definition of man. The definition "rational animal" appropriates to the thing defined a ratio communis, namely the genus. Thanks to the addition of the proper difference, the genus is contracted and made proper to a species. All of the things of which the specific name is said univocally receive the name precisely because it can be said of them according to that ratio propria et completa. It would be a great mistake to interpret "illud in quolibet eorum secundum propriam rationem invenitur" in terms of intrinsic form or intrinsic denomination, for then we would deny the possibility of univocal predication in those categories of accident which arise from extrinsic denomination.{25} The specific name of an individual, then, would signify the ratio propria (not just difference, but principally the difference; this is what makes it a proper notion), the generic name a ratio communis: the latter is more un3iversal and less determinate in content than the former in the line of univocal predicates.

    When it is a question of things named analogously, the ratio propria of the name is said to be saved in one of them alone. To exhibit the meaning of this, we want to examine a case of analogy that arose earlier, the signification of the word "sign." What is a sign? St. Thomas adopts the definition given by Augustine in the De doctrina christiana: signum est quod, praeter speciem quam ingerit sensibus, facit aliquid aliud in cognitionem venire.{26} This is the ratio propria of the term and only what saves this notion without qualification will properly be called a sign and, together with other things which save the ratio propria, be named sign univocally. Only sensible things will be properly called signs since only they can save the definition of the term. What we first know are the sensible effects or accidents of material substance and these lead us to knowledge of the substance. But can't we put it more generally and say that any effect is a sign of its cause? Let us look at a fairly lengthy statement of St. Thomas devoted to this very quesstion. "Anything is principally denominated and defined by that which belongs to it first and of itself and not by that which belongs to it thanks to something other. Now the sensible effect of its very self leads to knowledge of another, as that which first and of itself becomes known to man, since all our knowledge has its beginnings in sense. But intelligible effects don't lead to knowledge of another except as manifested through something else, namely through somethings sensible. That is why what is presented to the senses are first and principally called signs, as Augustine says (...see above). Intelligible effects, however, have the nature of sign only insofar as they are manifested by some sign."{27} It is not the relationship of effect to cause which is proper to sign, let it be noted; what is proper is that what is a sign is sensible, more known to us and conducive to knowledge of something else, whether this other be its cause or its effect.{28} Where some of these notes are lacking, say that of being sensible, the thing cannot be called a sign in the proper sense of the term. To call such a thing a sign will be to use the word in a wide sense, less properly, communiter.{29}

    In the light of this, we can better appreciate why, at the outset of On Interpretation, we read that words are signs of concepts and concepts are likenesses of things. Words are signs properly speaking, indeed they are more perfect signs than natural things (not with respect to the ration nominis, but from the point of view of efficaciousness);{30} they are sensible things which are known in themselves and lead on to knowledge of something else. Concepts are not sensible and are not first known to us so that they cannot be called signs, properly speaking, "quia si aliquid eorum sunt de ratione alicuius auferatur, iam non erit propria acceptio."{31}

5. The Extension of the Name

What are first known by us are sensible things and these are the first things we name. When we come to know non-sensible things, we could impose any noise to signify what we know, but should we proceed in such an arbitrary fashion we would not be fabricating an apt instrument of communication. Let us imagine that, when a philosopher came to the recognition of the existence of the agent intellect he decided to call it the blik. In order to know what he means by this word, we would have little choice but to submit ourselves altogether into his hands, rid ourselves of all our presuppositions (among them the language of daily life), and learn what could only be called a jargon.{32} Such a procedure is quite contrary to the way in which the phrase "agent intellect," for example, purposely keeps us in contact wtih ordinary experience: "agent" through more obvious earlier impositions, "intellect" by its etymology. Words are inevitably sensible and thereby retain their link with what is obvious to us; if to this is added the retention of the same word that signified the sensible when we want a term to signify something non-sensible in some way similar to the world's first signification, well then the word will carry along with it the reminder of the trajectory of our knowledge. And, if we take our words from ordinary language (as opposed to inventing a language), we must respect the meanings they have when we give them new meanings. So soon as ordinary  terms are taken over by the philosopher and, by whimsy or caprice, imposed to signify what is not even remotely similar to what they ordinarily signify, we have an instrument, not of communication, but of confusion.{33} St. Thomas often makes this point. "I reply that it should be said that since, according to the Philosopher, names are signs of what is understood, it is necessary that the process of our naming follow the process of our cognition. Our intellectual knowledge, however, proceeds from the more known to the less known and therefore names are transferred by us from more known things to signify things less known. So it is, as is pointed out in  Metaphysics X, that the word "distance," from signifying with respect to place, is extended to whatever contraries: in the same way we use names pertaining to local motion to signify other motions because bodies which are cumscribed by place are most known to us. The word 'circumstances' is derived in this way from localized things and extended to human acts."{34} The same point is made with respect to "see" which in its first imposition signifies the act of sight and then is extended to the acts of the other senses as in "see how it tastes."{35} In each of these examples, the ratio propria of the word is found only in one of the things it is taken to name and is said of that per prius, first of all.{36} It is said of the others because of some relation to what saves the ratio propria and to these secondary meanings we can apply the phrase: semper prius salvatur in posteriori.{37} It is not the case that what saves the name most properly, with the most propriety, is the most perfect of the things named by the same word.{38} This is clear enough when the name of an effect or sign is transferred to its cause or what it indicates. Thus, the word "word" is first imposed to signify what is more known to us, the spoken word, and then extended to signify the verbum cordis or "that which is actually considered by the intellect."{39} The latter, because it is immaterial is more perfect than the uttered word; it is, moreover, its efficient and final cause. Nevertheless, the ratio propria of "word" is saved most perfectly by the spoken word. So too in speaking of prophecy through imaginary (i.e. sensible) and intellectual visions, St. Thomas will say that the former more properly receives the name "prophecy" since that word implies obscurity and remoteness from intelligibile truth.{40} Nowhere is this more strikingly evident than in words which are extended from creatures to signify God. God is infinite perfection and yet the very word "perfection" cannot be said of Him if it is taken strictly.{41} When the name is extended to things which do not save its ratio propria, it will be said to signify them minus proprie or communiter and it will always be necessary, if we are to explain the use of the word to signify them, to go back to what saves the ratio propria. Since the ratio propria will be such that it is more known to us, this reference backward in any extended use of the word makes it a more perfect instrument for leading us from the obvious and well known to what for us is neither. This is why there is no need to look in the writing of Aristotle and St. Thomas for a special "metaphysical" vocabulary; the same words, and a remarkably small number in all, are used in the scientiae praeambulae{42} and in metaphysics, each taking on a series of meanings which reflects the progress of our knowledge and insures against a sterile abstractness, an unanchored jargon, in pursuing the term of philosophy. It is our failure to make vernacular presentations of Aristotle and St. Thomas match this modest but effective vocabulary of the masters arising out of ordinary language, which make introductions to the philosophia perennis very much like courses in foreign languages.


{1} 16a6-7.

{2} Although statements about the conventional character of the signification of words conjure up the image of a primitive group, capable only of grunts and groans, sitting in silent council to impose in some wordless way noises on notions, we should not be misled by this and rush to the extreme which would  maintain that language is natural and that some noises naturally have certain meanings. What is the reply to the question: who decided "father" would mean father? The implication of the question is that if no one decided this, it wasn't decided. Perhaps appeal should be made to something like Durkheim's "collective representation"? Not at all. The explanation of the conventional signification of language is not something which can be accomodated to the view that language evolves out of the group in a hit or miss manner: rather it depends on just that. If language is an instrument of communication, we would be wrong to look for an "imposer of names" - he would be an imposter. Language is convention in the root sense, a coming together, an agreement in practise and context, as to the significatin of sounds.

{3} Q.D. de ver.,  q.4, a. 1.

{4} Cf. Ia, q. 30, a.4.

{5} Cf. IV Sent. d. 1, q. 1, a. 1, sol. 2.

{6} Cf. Q.D. de pot., q. 9, a. 3, ad 1.

{7} A scandalous suggestion. Cf. Ia, q. 13, a. 2, ad 2.

{8} IIaIIae, q. 92, a. 1, ad 2; I Sent., d. 24, q. 2, a. 2, ad 2.

{9} Ia. q. 18, a.2.

{10} For example, in teaching the doctrine of induction, the logician may want to cite the Latin etymology of the word and go on to speak of the induction of someone into the army to establish a basis for discussing the transition from the singular to a  larger whole.

{11} "Si qua vero sunt quae secundum se sunt nota nobis, ut calor, frigus, albedo, et huius-modi, non ab aliis denominantur. Unde in talibus idem est quod nomen significat, et id a quo imponitur nomen ad significandum." - Ia,  q. 13, a. 8.

{12} I Sent., d. 4, q. 1, a. 1.

{13} Q.D. de ver., q. 4, a.1, ad 8: "Dicendum quod nomen dicitur ab aliquo imponi dupliciter: aut ex parte imponentis nomen, aut ex parte rei cui imponitur. Ex parte autem rei nomen dicitur ab illo imponi per quod completur ratio rei quam nomen significat. Et hoc est quod principaliter significatur per nomen. Sed quia differentiae essentiales sunt nobis ignotae, quandoque utimur accidentibus vel effectibus loco earum... et sic illud quod loco differentiae essentialis sumitur, est a quo imponitur nomen ex parte imponentis".

{14} Cf. De ente et essentia, cap. 2; In VII Metaphysic., lect. 9.

{15} Ia, q. 13, a. 1 ad 2.

{16} "Sic ergo patet quod essentia hominis significatur hoc nomine homo et hoc nomine humanitas, sed diversimode, ut dictum est: quia hoc nomen homo significat eam ut totum, in quantum scilicet non praecidit designationem materiae, sed implicite continet eam et indistincte, sicut dictum est quod genus continet differentiam: et ideo praedicatur hoc nomen homo de individuis; sed hoc nomen humantias significat eam ut partem, quia non continet nisi id quod est hominis in quantum homo, et praecidit omnem designationem materiae, unde de individuis hominis non praedicatur." - De ente, cap.3.

{17} Ia, q. 13, a. 10, ad 1.

{18} I take this example from C. S. Peirce.

{19} In XI Metaphysic, lect. 3, n. 2197: "In his vero quae praedicto modo dicuntur, idem nomen de diversis praedicatur secundum rationem partim eamdem, partim diversam. Diversam quidem quantum ad diversos modos relationis. Eamdem vero quantum ad id ad quod fit relatio. Esse enim significativum, et esse effectivum, diversum est. Sed sanitas  una est... Et propter hoc huiusmodi dicuntur analoga, quia proportionantur ad unum."

{20} "Et iste modus communitatis medius est inter puram aequivocationem et simplicem univocationem. Neque enim in uius quae analogice dicuntur, est una rationis, sicut est in univocis; nec totaliter diversa, sicut in aequivocis sed nomen quod sic multipliciter dicitur, significat diversas proportiones ad aliquid unum; sicut sanum de urina dictum, significat signum sanitatis animalis, de medicina vero dictum, significat causam eiusdem sanitatis."- Ia, q. 13, a, 5.

{21} Cf. Ia,  q. 13, a. 10, ad4.

{22} In  I Ethic., lect. 7, n. 95.

{23} Ia, q. 16, a. 6: :...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."

{24} Q.D. de ver., q. 4, a. 1, ad 8.

{25} Cf. In III Physic., lect. 5, (ed. Pirotta), n. 619: "Tertius autem modus praedicandi est quando aliquid extrinsecum de aliquo praedicatur per modum alicuius denominationis."

{26} IIIa, q. 60, a. 4, ad 1.

{27} Ibid. "...dicendum quod unumquodque praecipue denominatur et definitur secundum illud quod convenit ei primo et per se: non autem per id quod convenit ei per aliud. Effectus autem sensibilis per se habet quod ducat in congnitionem alterius, quasi primo et per se homini innotescens: quia omnis nostra cognitio a sensu initium habet. Effectus autem intelligibiles non habent quod possint ducere in cognitionem alterius nisi inquantum sunt per aliud manifestati, idest per aliqua sensibilia. Et inde est quod primo et principaliter dicuntur signa quae sensibus offeruntur: sicut Augustinus dicit... quod 'signum est quod praeter speciem quam ingerit sensibus, facit aliquid aliud in cognitionem venire.' Effectus autem intelligibles non habent rationem signi nisi secundum quod sunt manifestati per aliqua signa."

{28} Q.D de ver., q. 9, a. 4, ad 5.

{29} "Sed communiter possumus signum dicere quodcumque notum in quo aliquid cognoscatur; et secundum hoc forma intelligibilis potest dici signum rei quae per ipsum cognoscitur." - Q.D. de ver., q. 9, a.4, ad 4.

{30}QD. de ver., q. 11, a. 1, ad 11.

{31} Ibid., q. 4, a. 2. ]

{32} Unfortunately, this is what the study of philosophy too often amounts to, even in institutions where St. Thomas is taken as guide. I say "even" with irony, not smugness, since St. Thomas himself has so much to say about the nature of efficacious philosophical language, as nearly all of which is ignored by those of us most eager to be known as Thomists. It is not surprising to find the encyclical Humani Generis urge that special attention be paid to the language used in the presentation of the traditional doctrine. English and other modern languages present special problems in this regard, since so much of philosophical terminology has been gotten by borrowing from Latin and Greek, without the carry-over of the flavor and history which underlay the selection of a given term to play a philosophical role.

{33} Of course, if a somewhat surprising use has become customary in the philosophical tradition, we must respect this. "Sed tamen, quia nominibus utendum est ut plures utuntur, quia, secundum Philosophum, usus maxime est aemulandus in significationibus nominum; et quia omnes Sancti communiter utuntur nomine verbi, prout personaliter dicitur, ideo hoc magis dicendum est, quod scilicet personaliter dicitur." - Q. D de ver., q. 4, a. 2.

{34} IaIIae, q. 7, a.1: "Respondo dicendum quod quia nomina, secundum Philosophum, sunt signa intellectuum, necesse est quod secundum processum intellectivae cognitionis, sit etiam nominationis processos. Procedit autem nostra cognitio intellectualis a notioribus ad minus nota. Et ideo apus nos a notioribus nomina transferuntur ad significandum res minus notas. Et inde est quod... ab his quae sunt secundum locum, processit nomen distantiae ad omnia contraria; et similiter nominibus pertinentibus ad motum localem, utimur ad significandum alios motus, eo quod corpora, quae loco circumscribuntur, sunt maxime nobis nota. Et inde est quod nomen circumstantiae ab his quae in loco sunt, derivatur ad actus humanos."

{35} Ia, q. 67, a.1'

{36} Ia, q33, a. 3: "Respondeo dicendum quod per prius dicitur nomen de illo in quo salvatur tota ratio nominis perfecte, quam de illo in quo salvatur secundum aliquid: de hoc enim dicitur quasi per similitunibem ad id in quo perfecte salvatur, quia omnia imperfecta sumuntur a perfectis."

{37} Ia, q. 60, a. 2.

{38} Q.D de ver., q. 1, a. 2. Think of the analogy of "sin."

{39} Ibid., q. 4, a.1.

{40} IIaIIae, q. 174, a. 2, ad 3: "...nihil prohibet aliquid esse simpliciter melius, quod tamen minus proprie recipit alicuius praedicationem: sicut cognitio patriae est nobilior quam cognitio viae, quae tamen magis proprie dicitur fides, eo quod nomen fidei importat imperfectionem cognitionis. Similiter autrem prophetia importat quandam obscuritatem et remotionem ab intelligibili veritate. Et ido magisproprie dicuntur prophetae qui vident per imaginarian visionem, quamvis illa prophetia sit nobilior quae est per intellectualem visionem: dum tamen sit eadem veritas utrobique revelata."

{41} Q.D. de ver., q. 2, a. 3, ad 13: "...perfectionis nomen, si stricte accipiatur, in Deo non potest poni; quia nihil est perfectum nisi quod est factum."

{42} In Boethii de trin., q. 3, a. 1.

© 2011 by the Estate of Ralph McInerny. All rights reserved including the right to translate or reproduce this book or parts thereof in any form.

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