By Humphrey Palmer (auth.)
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Extra resources for Analogy: A Study of Qualification and Argument in Theology
We are part of that world, and share its limitations, and it is on our experience of that world that all our knowledge and ideas are originally based. Human thought therefore is finite and imperfect too; a difficulty when it concerns some worldly object, but a fatal flaw when humans think about the infinite, the all-perfect, the divine. Here their conceptions must have an intrinsic inadequacy. God cannot be comprehended properly in ordinary human terms. 5 This argument depends, like most arguments, on a number of further assumptions that are not explicitly stated but do need to be examined independently.
Until he explains his usage Alice has - and can have - no idea what he intends. Suppose he had refused to explain, and just left her to catch up. If she ever did, her new understanding of glory and impenetrability would be evident, to herself or to others, only from her being able to explain. It is the possibility of explaining, to oneself or another, that shows we have a meaning for the term. If Humpty Dumpty could not explain himself even to himself we should have to say that he did not know what he was talking about.
It only says that while one can have too little (cowardice) one could also have too much (foolhardiness). Whatever the virtue in question, this theory says that we can either overshoot or undershoot the mark. * Now this statement is formal and theoretical: we cannot use it to work out our duty in any given case. But it is not quite empty, all the same; for there might have been good of which it was impossible to have too much, and the theory says that this is not the case. 18 The comparison suggested in the so-called 'equation' of proportion or analogy may also be taken in this purely formal and general way.
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