7. Analogy of being

  1. Clarity, ambiguity and analogy

   There are a lot of beings in the world. We assign being to all of them. For instance: the mountain is, the tree is, the dog is, the man is, the angels are and God is. Everyone has in common the fact of being, but their mode of being is different.

a) Clarity. A univocal term always designs the same thing, has only one meaning. For instance, man is a rational animal, student is who studies.

b) Ambiguity. An ambiguous term designs things of different nature, i.e., has two or more meanings. For example: a cat can be a domestic animal and a tool for lifting the car off the ground and changing the punctured tyre; bull is an animal and a constellation of stars. Every language has some ambiguous terms that can produce confusions: tear, bank, match, etc.

c) Analogy. An analogous term designs different objects, but with something in common. They have a meaning partly the same and partly different. For instance: the word leaf can be used related to trees, books and tables. These are different objects, but with something in common: to be thin layers. The term “being” is analogous. We assign it to things that are material, spiritual, real, ideal, etc. but even though all of them are beings, they vary in their mode of being.

  A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

  1. Beings are not equal taking into account:

    a. their mode of being
    b. if they are material or spiritual
    c. if they are big or small

  2. A term with only one meaning is:

    a. analogous
    b. ambiguous
    c. univocal

 3. If a term has two or more meanings is:

    a. univocal
    b. ambiguous
    c. analogous

 4. The “leaf” of trees and books is a term:

    a. univocal
    b. ambiguous
    c. analogous

 5. The term “being” is:

    a. analogous
    b. univocal
    c. ambiguous

 6. “Cat” as a pet and as a tool is a term:

    a. univocal
    b. ambiguous
    c. analogous

  2. Types of analogy

   There are two types of analogy

 a) Attribution analogy. We can say a man is healthy, a food is healthy, an atmosphere is healthy. The word “healthy” attributes in an analogue way, and we call it attribution because it is given essentially in man, but related to atmosphere and food is something external that only attributes to them by reference to a living being. Food and atmosphere are healthy for man.

   b) Proportion analogy. We can say a child laughs and the field in spring laughs. This analogy is called proportion because between laughing and child, and flowers and field there is a certain proportion. It could be said that laugh is in relation to man as flowers are regarding to field.

  B. Choose the rigth letter: a, b,

  1. When we say a man or an atmosphere is healthy, what type of analogy is?

    a. attribution
    b. proportion

  2. The term “healthy” applies properly to:

    a. atmosphere
    b. man

 3. With the term “laughing”, what type of analogy do we use?

    a. proportion
    b. attribution

 4. There is a proportion between the laughing of a child and the laughing of:

    a. a field
    b. a bird

 5. There is a proportion between flowers and:

    a. a child
    b. a field

 6. There is a proportion analogy and another called:

    a. attribution
    b. similarity

  3. Pantheism, agnosticism and theism

   Pantheists affirm the concept of “being” to be univocal, and it always designs the same. They say that all is one. Nature is God, because they are the same thing.

   Agnostics maintain the concept of “being” to be ambiguous and affirm that it is applicable to the things and creatures, but not to God. They say that the being of God would not be at all similar to the being of creatures, and so we could not say anything about God. We cannot know God.

   Theists maintain the term “being” to be analogous and it can be applied to many ways of being: actual, potential, material, spiritual, finite and infinite. Therefore, the term “being” can be also applied analogically to the creatures and to God.

  C. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. Who affirm the concept of “being” to be univocal?

    a. theists
    b. pantheists
    c. agnostics

  2. How is the term “being” for agnostics?

    a. ambiguous
    b. univocal
    c. analogous

 3. Who maintain the concept of “being” to be analogous?

    a. pantheists
    b. agnostics
    c. theists

 4. Who say Nature and God to be the same?

    a. theists
    b. agnostics
    c. pantheists

 5. Who say that we cannot know God?

    a. theists
    b. agnostics
    c. pantheists

 6. Who affirm that we can know God?

    a. theists
    b. agnostics
    c. pantheists

  4. Consequences

   The principle of analogy of the being is very important because reject pantheism (only exists one being); agnosticism (we cannot know anything about God) and positivism (we can only know what is sensitive, measurable and countable).

   Our intelligence cannot know God thoroughly, because in that case we would be such as Him. But we can know something about God and, so, the educate man has to know God, his doctrine and moral as much as he can.

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| Educational applications | Philosophy |
For young |In Spanish | To print |

®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL