Analogy (philosophy)

analogy (of griech. analogia „relationship “) designates a form of the agreement of articles in philosophy regarding certain characteristics. In the antique one the term was originally used as technical term for the designation of mathematical conditions (proportions). Later it designated also conditions, which not strictly quantitative kind are. In the philosophy of the Middle Ages the analogy played a large role in connection with the question, how could be talked meaningfully about God. The analogy teachings referred here v.a. on semantic problems, which develop with the use of terms and their meaning importance.

Table of contents

the term

the term „analogy “is distinguished in language philosophy from the terms „Univozität “and „Äquivozität “. Of Univozität one speaks, if a word is used on clear way. Äquivozität means that completely different meanings in different uses are attached to the same word. A classical example for this is the word „bunch “, which can designate a flower bundle, a fight and a kind of bird. It concerns here thus exactly taken three different terms, which are named the same word (understood as bare sound sequence). Of analogy one speaks, if a word exhibits different meanings, which have however still another certain similarity with one another with different uses. An example of it is „the metaphor “. One e.g. speaks. from „the head of the family “the word does not designate „head “in such a way in this use a part of the body of an organism. A correspondence is present nevertheless to this meaning, because as the meaning of the part of the body for the entire organism the meaning of the concerned is similar. Family member for the entire family. The similar use of words represents the Nomalfall in the normal colloquial language.

the philosophical problem definition

from the observation that the similar linguistic usage represents the normal case, results the question whether also a similar structure of the reality corresponds to this linguistic usage. The problem of the analogy exhibits here high distorting shank with the Universalienproblem . Further the question arises, as such an ontologische analogy would be to be thought. Here the fundamental problem of the identity and difference is affected by „articles “, which is discussed in the tradition also under the keywordof dialectic “.

The understanding of the analogy has direct effects on its term and thus in the kind of the claimant Metaphysik. From a similar structure of the reality a dialectic its term results, as its as abundance it is understood where everything agrees and differs at the same time in it. The view, at the clearStructure of the reality holds, leads to a univoken and thus in the long run empty its term. This beginning flows in a Wesensmetaphysik, in which its as is only understood, what the nature existence lends („Realdistinktion between to be and natures “).

Is from greatest importance the term of the analogy for the speech over God. The question is here whether it is permissible to be able to meet with the terms from „the geschöpfllichen reality “statements about one as „completely different “understood reality. In the religious language this happens in in completely natural way. Thus it e.g. means. in Psalm 18:

„I want to praise you, Mr., my strength,
Mr., you my rock, my castle, my rescuer,
my God, my celebrations, in which I save myself,
my sign and safe welfare, my refuge.
I call: The gentleman is praised! ,
and I am saved forwards mine to enemies “.

The similar or dialectic speech of God comes classically in the theory of the three ways with Dionysius Areopagita to the language:

  • On „the way of the affirmation “ we maintain everything over God, which we in the world and/or. in us as perfection to determine can. We can do this, since God is the last cause of all reality and between a cause and effect a certain similarity exists.
  • On „the way of the denial “ we remove all aspects, which agitate from the incompleteness of the geschöpfllichen origin and are inadequate God from our statements about God.
  • on „the way of the over stairs “ the borders pointed out by the negation of the affirmativen statement are finally opened „exceeded “and each finite regulation exceeding reality of God.

With these three steps it concerns not around three different entrances to God, but three aspects of our natural God realization referred one on the other.

the discussion of the term in philosophy history

antique one

the sun - an analogue for the Göttliche the term „of the analogy,

frequently used in philosophy history, “dipped as term already with the Pythagoräern as designation of a mathematical relationship equality on („8: is similar to 4 to 4:2 with the same Logos 2:1 “). Here the speech however actually still is from a univoken relations relationship. To the actual sense the term was only introduced by Platon into philosophy. Here the analogy serves v.a. as means for the realization of the intelligiblen world. Since after Platon the world visible image of the world of the ideas is, this can be recognized on the way of the analogy. The most famous examples for this are cave-equalsneeze and the comparison of the göttlichen idea of the good one with the jets sending sun (the idea of the good one the sun produces itself " pole " for analogue as <it „“ref name=> Platon: Politeia. 508b </ref>.

Aristoteles divided the organisms due to similar functions in classes. In the ethics it defines the distributive justice as the analogy of those conditions, in those each involved one that the Seine comes (Nikomachi ethics) <ref name= to " NE "> Aristoteles: Nikomachi ethics. 1131ff. </ref>. In the Metaphysik states it the fact that „its “in „multiple way “one state, but always „on one “, the substance, to which its first comes, while the Akzidentien it has its only regarding the substance< ref name= " MP "> Aristoteles: Metaphysik. 1003a 32ff. </ref>. Aristoteles does not speak in this connection yet of analogy, this circumstances however in further philosophy history than theory of „the Analogia entis “is again taken up.

The Neuplatonismus teaches the similar structure of the different its ranges in tying to the Platonic Urbild image pattern. The göttliche origin is in its effects present; these stay those at its abundance behind it. The göttliche Urbild can be seized therefore from the effects, but only inadäquat, similarly. All categories of the visible world apply to the mental only similarly.

the Middle Ages

the Scholastik 13. Jh.s determined the relationship of God and creature as analogy. God and creature are similar itself, but are afflicted this similarity with a still larger dissimilarity. With this compromise settlement one wanted to avoid both the Pantheismus and the Agnostizismus. Starting point was thereby the theory of the Arab Aristotelikers Averroes, which represented the acceptance, the analogy is a middle between complete equality (Univozität) and complete difference (Äquivozität).

The Scholastik differentiated between an analogy of the Attribution („analogia attributionis “) and an analogy of the proportionality („analogia proportionalitatis “). „Analogia attributionis “the relationship of two „articles “designates to each other. Similar term contents come to a first article in a primary sense and to a second article in derived way are transferred. Thus we speak of one „recover to “welfare drunkenness, because he serves the health of an organism, of which primarily the term „healthy “are stated (see. Thomas's von Aquin, „Summa theologiae “). Also „its “we use the term in this way. It both of God stated (it „attribuiert “) and, that its in the primary sense comes of all finite creatures, which depend in their its on God. With „analogia proportionalitatis “it goes around the similarity from conditions. As example the Thomas's uses physical seeing and the mental insight:

„In the second way somewhat analogisch one states, like e.g. the word is said ‚seeing' (visus) by physical seeing and by the understanding, because like a seeing in the eye, so the insight (intellectus) is in the spirit “ <ref name= " DeVer "> Thomas's von Aquin: De veritate. q.2 a.11. Zit. with Josef de Vries: Analogy. In: Fundamental ideas of the Scholastik. 3. Aufl. Darmstadt 1993, ISBN 3-534-05985-9 . </ref>

The most important critic of the scholastischen analogy conception is Johannes Duns Scotus. Background of its criticism is the stress of the perfect heterogeneity one of God opposite its creatures:

„I legend, God am thought not only in a term, which is similar to the term of the creature, even however a different one is complete than the term, which is stated by the creature, but also in a God and the creature to clear term [in conceptu univoco] “ <ref name= " Ord "> Johannes Duns Scotus: Ordinatio. Zit. : Josef de Vries: Analogy. In: Fundamental ideas of the Scholastik. 3. Aufl. Darmstadt 1993, ISBN 3-534-05985-9< /ref>.

For Duns Scotus contains therefore the term „its “neither the term „finally “nor the term „infinitely “. It is clear and thus in the long run complete in its opinion contents empty, since it does not cover any differences more. Duns Scotus theory of the Univozität of its term leads in the further process of philosophy history to the nominalism and thus to a loosening of the connection of term and reality.

20. Century

in 20. Jhd. the problem of the analogy dips in theology . In Evangelist theology Karl Barth rejects the conception of a its analogy strictly. It sets the term to this against „analogia fidei “: The analogy of the creatures to God can take place not in the realization of the Seins by means of the natural reason, but only in the faith. For catholic theology however Erich Przywara analogia entis “as principle the one particularly stresses „form unit “from philosophy and theology. Starting point is for it the set 4. Laterankonzils (1215): „Between creators and creature there is no similarity (similitudo), without this by a still larger dissimilarity (dissimilitudo) would be accompanied “. This causes it to the consequence that the analogy is „last subjective rhythm in its and last subjective rhythm in thinking “(articles „Analogia Entis “in LThK [1]).




  • article „analogy “in the following encyclopedias:
  • Bruno Puntel: Analogy and historicity, Herder, Freiburg i.Br. 1969

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