Atheism and Analogy: Aquinas Against the Atheists
Linford, Daniel J.
MetadataShow full item record
In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas developed two models for how humans may speak of God - either by the analogy of proportion or by the analogy of proportionality. Aquinas's doctrines initiated a theological debate concerning analogy that spanned several centuries. In the 18th century, there appeared two closely related arguments for atheism which both utilized analogy for their own purposes. In this thesis, I show that one argument, articulated by the French materialist Paul-Henri Thiry Baron d'Holbach, is successful in showing that God-talk, as conceived of using the analogy of proportion, is unintelligible non-sense. In addition, I show that another argument, articulated by Anthony Collins (Vindication of Divine Attributes), George Berkeley (chapter IV of Alciphron), and David Hume (chapter XII of Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion) can be restructured into an argument for the position that the analogy of proportionality makes the distinction between atheism and theism merely verbal. Since both of these are undesirable consequences for the theist, I conclude that Aquinas's doctrine of analogy does not withstand the assault of 18th century atheists.
- Masters Theses