Two Theories of Analogical Predication

Daniel Bonevac

in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 4

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656417
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742163 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 4

Two Theories of Analogical Predication

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses two versions of the doctrine of analogical predication. One rests on the idea of structural similarity. An analogy between a representation and what it represents can legitimately be drawn. Properties of the representation provide grounds for inferring corresponding properties of what it represents. This is an aspect of a more general phenomenon: Two things may have similar structures, or be elements in similar structures, in a way that supports analogical inferences and, correspondingly, analogical predication. The second rests on the closely related idea of approximation or idealization. Models that approximate or idealize a more complex domain can be constructed, and properties of items in the models can be used to infer corresponding properties of items in that domain. Both understandings of analogy show that analogical predications can be informative; that there is an independent argument for the doctrine; and that it provides grounds for true statements about God and knowledge of God. The versions differ in some ways, but each meshes with the doctrine of divine simplicity and provides a model for how we can reason about transcendent concepts as well as about God. It is argued that the doctrine of analogical predication has importance far beyond the philosophy of religion.

Keywords: God; divine simplicity; transcendent concepts; philosophy of religion

Chapter.  11685 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.