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Open Theology

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Are Aquinas and Whitehead Metaphorical and Analogical All the Way Down?

Robert Masson
Published Online: 2015-11-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0033


The paper argues from the perspective of a significant strand of interpretation of Aquinas and from insights in cognitive linguistics that a fruitful dialogue between Whitehead and Thomism needs to take into account that metaphysics and talk about God are metaphorical and analogical all the way down. Cognitive linguistics provides an explanatory scheme for explaining how Aquinas’s tectonic use of analogy shifts the ground of our conventional fields of meanings to create space to conceptualize what otherwise would be beyond grasp and to make inferences possible that otherwise would be unthinkable. The essay concludes with a question, admittedly from a particular trajectory of Thomism and cognitive linguistics, about whether Whitehead’s conception of God adequately accounts for the radically metaphorical “imaginative leap” entailed in the Christian conception of God.

Keywords: Analogy; Cognitive Linguistics; metaphor; religious language; Thomism


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About the article

Received: 2015-09-17

Accepted: 2015-10-09

Published Online: 2015-11-06

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0033.

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©2015 Robert Masson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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