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The Semantics of Analogy

Rereading Cajetan's De Nominum Analogia

Joshua P. Hochschild

Publication Year: 2010

The Semantics of Analogy is the first book-length interpretive study in English of Thomas de Vio Cajetan's (1469?-1534) classic treatise on analogy. Written in 1498, De Nominum Analogia (On the Analogy of Names) has long been treated as Cajetan's attempt to systematize Aquinas’s theory of analogy. A traditional interpretation regarded it as the official Thomistic treatise on analogy, but current scholarly consensus holds that Cajetan misinterpreted Aquinas and misunderstood the phenomenon of analogy. Both approaches, argues Joshua P. Hochschild, ignore the philosophical and historical context and fail to accurately assess Cajetan's work. In The Semantics of Analogy, Hochschild reinterprets De Nominum Analogia as a significant philosophical treatise in its own right. He addresses some of the most well-known criticisms of Cajetan's analogy theory and explicates the later chapters of De Nominum Analogia, which are usually ignored by commentators. He demonstrates that Cajetan was aware of the limits of semantic analysis, had a sophisticated view of the relationship between semantics and metaphysics, and expressed perceptive insights about concept formation and hermeneutics that are of continuing philosophical relevance.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x

This work began as a doctoral project at the University of Notre Dame, and through its gestation there and subsequent development into the present form I have incurred many debts. I mention first Gyula Klima, who introduced me to medieval philosophy, and from whom I tried to learn as much as possible through ...


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xx

Now, the question “To what question did So-and-so intend this proposition for an answer?” is an historical question, and therefore cannot be settled except by historical methods. When So-and-so wrote in a distant past, it is generally a very difficult one, because writers (at any rate good writers) always write for their contemporaries, and in particular for those who are ...

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Introduction: Some Theoretical and Historical Preliminaries

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pp. 1-14

This introduction is intended to orient those readers who may not already be familiar with discussions of the history of analogy and the place of Cajetan’s treatise within that history. It first presents a brief overview of some of the key concepts covered by the term ‘analogy,’ not in specific matters of theology or metaphysics, but in considera-...

Part 1. Cajetan’s Question

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Chapter One. Systematizing Aquinas?: A Paradigm in Crisis

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pp. 17-32

Cajetan’s theory of analogy has hardly been neglected by modern scholars. Its influence on all subsequent discussion of analogy has been widely felt and recognized, by both Cajetan’s defenders and his critics. As we will see in this chapter, however, debates about Cajetan’s theory of analogy have taken place within a framework of common ...

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Chapter Two. Reconstructing Cajetan’s Question: The Semantic Intent of De Nominum Analogia

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pp. 33-46

What is De Nominum Analogia about? A scholastic commentator would raise this question in terms of several more specific ones. A proper prologue, according to longstanding medieval convention, communicates not only the title (titulus) of the work, the name of the author (nomen auctoris), and the order of its parts (ordo libri), but also ...

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Chapter Three. Analogy, Semantics, and the “Concept vs. Judgment” Critique

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pp. 47-64

Some critics of Cajetan who have discerned his general semantic intent have charged that Cajetan’s theory had to fail because of this very intent. If these critics are correct, Cajetan’s theory of analogy is historically significant for exposing weaknesses latent in medieval semantic assumptions. According to the critics, the Aristotelian as-...

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Chapter Four. Some Insufficient Semantic Rules for Analogy

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pp. 65-82

Cajetan’s interest in a semantic analysis of analogy was not only theoretically interesting and appropriate, but urgent. Cajetan’s teaching on analogy must be understood as an attempt to respond to a particular challenge, issued most famously by Scotus, that analogy, understood as a mean between univocation and equivocation, is semantically im-...

Part 2. Cajetan’s Answer

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Chapter Five. Cajetan’s Semantic Principles

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pp. 85-98

In response to objections to a semantic analysis of analogy, we began to examine Cajetan’s semantic principles in chapter 3. There I clarified that for Cajetan the concept was simply that which mediated thought; a concept is simply the intellectual intention by virtue of which someone understands something. Thus, we saw, the concept played a role ...

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Chapter Six. The Semantics of Analogy: Inequality and Attribution

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pp. 99-121

This is the first of four chapters that directly explicate Cajetan’s teaching on analogy in De Nominum Analogia. It will consider his definitions of analogy at the beginning of that treatise, and his relatively brief discussions of analogy of inequality and analogy of attribution. It is relevant to begin, however, with a consideration of two ...

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Chapter Seven. The Semantics of Proportionality: The Proportional Unity of Concepts

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pp. 122-142

We have seen that analogy of attribution is a species of equivocation in which the different concepts are related, so that the ratio of one appears in the definition of the others. This seems to be the most obvious mean between univocation and equivocation. But for Cajetan there is another mean: analogy of proportionality. This will turn out ...

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Chapter Eight. The Semantics of Proportionality: Concept Formation and Judgment

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pp. 143-160

If analogy of proportionality is superior because its diverse concepts are proportionally the same, it remains the case that what it means to have two concepts proportionally the same is obscure—as Cajetan himself admits at the end of the third chapter of De Nominum Analogia.1 As a true mean between univocation and equivocation, analogy ...

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Chapter Nine. The Semantics of Proportionality: Syllogism and Dialectic

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pp. 161-176

In the middle chapters of De Nominum Analogia, with their continued emphasis on concepts, Cajetan at first glance seems to be primarily concerned with matters of epistemology or philosophical psychology. The concern, however, remains properly logical or semantic. The common theme is the acquisition, structure, and deployment of ...

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pp. 173-176

Modern scholarly discussions of Cajetan’s De Nominum Analogia have focused on the question of Cajetan’s fidelity to Aquinas. But in seeking an answer to that question, the scholarly debate lost sight of the question or questions that motivated Cajetan to write De Nominum Analogia, and so lost sight of the most appropriate perspective from ...


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pp. 177-232


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pp. 233-244


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pp. 245-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780268081676
E-ISBN-10: 0268081670
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268030919
Print-ISBN-10: 026803091X

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Cajetan, Tommaso de Vio, 1469-1534. De nominum analogia.
  • Analogy.
  • Semantics (Philosophy).
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