“Analogy” is a word which has a long and glorious past. Its origin is Greek. In Greek language “analogy” is first used in mathematics.1 The mathematician Achytas calls “analogy” the middle term of an arithmetical series and the second term of a proportionality which comprises only three terms.2 The geometer Euclid uses “analogy” to mean both a proportion (i.e. a reciprocal relation between numbers or a direct similarity between them3) and a proportionality (i.e. equality of ratios or agreement between two or more numerical relations).4
- Direct Similarity
- Mediaeval Philosophy
- Greek Scholar
- Glorious Past
- Ontological Unity
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See T. Heath, A History of Greek Mathematics (Oxford, 1921) Vol I, espec. pp. 325–327, 384 ff.
See H. Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Berlin, 1934–1935), 5th ed., I, p. 435 f.
Euclid, Elements, trans. T. L. Heath, (Cambridge, 1908), vol. I I, pp.112–117, and I20–124.
Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 5th ed., I, p. 396.
See A. Goergen, Kardinal Cajetans Lehre von der Analogie, Diss. (München, 1938) p. 86.
Yet there are passages in Aristotle which suggest this use of the word “analogy”. For instance in Metaphysica 1070aandb he says that the first principles and causes are one Kati dvaa.oyíav and in Ethica Nic. 1096b, 28 ff he says that the concept of good is one Kai dvaAoyiay. In the. last case he speaks of epistemological unity. In the first case he speaks of ontological unity. But this ontological unity implies a unity of concepts, and since these concepts which have analogical unity may be called analogous, the terms which signify them may also be called analogous. Aristotle, then, could have called, as the Scholastics actually did, the terms “matter”, “form”, “good”, “being” etc. analogous. Cf. also Topica, 136b-137a, 124a, 15 ff.
See Analytica Posteriora 712, 10. We find in Aristotle another sort of reasoning by analogy which he calls Kazdvaa.oyoiay. See e.g. Topica 124a,15 ff; 136b-137a etc. Probably this accounts for the origin of the terminology of “reasoning by analogy”.
Actually analogy is a sub-type of the class, metaphor. Cf. e.g. 1410b, 36, 1457b, 6. For image see 1406b, 20 ff.
See G. L. Muskens, De vocis “analogias” sign cation ac usu apud Aristotelem (Groningue: Wolters, 1943).
Proclus, The Elements of Theology 18, Trans. by Dodds (1953) p. 21.
Pseudo-Dionysius, De Divinis Nomnibus in Migne’s Patrologiae CursusCompletus, Series Greca vol. 3, p. 588 A, 497 A; Ecclesiastica Hierarchia, ib. p. 372 D, 537 D etc. Pseudo-Dionysius is mainly concerned with analogy as a cosmological principle. For this matter see Oeuvres Complètes du Pseudo-Denys, Trans. M. de Gandillac (Aubier: Montaigne, 1943) p. 40.
For an excellent study of the use of analogy by the Neoplatonists see Lyttkens, The Analogy, pp. 58–109. For Pseudo-Dionysius see V. Lossky, „La notion des `Analogies’ chez Denys le Pseudo-Areopagite“, Archives d’Histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age (1930),ff p. 279 ff.
Varro, De Lingua Latina, 10, 74: “Analogia est verborum similium declinatio.” 6 Cf. “Analogia” in Ducange’s Glossarium mediae et infimae Latinitatis.
E. Gilson, The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure, (London: 1938), p. 236.
See E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot (Paris: 1962) pp. 101 ff.
© 1963 Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands
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Mondin, B. (1963). The Use of the Term “Analogy” in Greek and Mediaeval Philosophy. In: The Principle of Analogy in Protestant and Catholic Theology. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-9526-3_1
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