L’ANALOGIA IN ARISTOTELE
Keywords:Aristotle, Analogy, Unity, Analogy of Proportionality, Analogy of Attribution
The article begins by surveying Aristotle’s use of analogy in his treatises on physics, ethics, biology, and poetics. In these contexts, analogy signifies the identity of relations between things which are different from one another, as in a mathematical proportion. The ‘analogy of proportionality’ has a horizontal structure, in which there is no hierarchy or priority, either ontological or logical, between the different terms. It is then shown that ‘relative homonymity’ or ‘homonymity related to one’, which medieval scholastics called the ‘analogy of attribution’, is completely different from analogy, in that it applies to different kinds of things which are unified by the fact that each one contains a reference, or relation, but always a different one, to the same thing: for example, substance, to which all the other categories refer or are related in different ways. The structure is vertical, since there is always something above (substance), which has both ontological and logical priority, and something below (the other categories). Aristotle sometimes speaks of analogy as a particular type of similarity: for instance, when he compares animals which do not walk with plants; since animals are superior to plants, the vertical dimension of similarity is combined with the horizontal dimension of the analogy of proportionality. The article concludes by pointing out a certain type of analogy of proportionality between the human intellect, which enjoys happiness at times, and the first unmoved mover, which always enjoys it.