John of St. Thomas compares the unity of an analogical name to the unity of small grains seen from far enough away to make them seem like a single lump. This seems right, at least about the sorts of analogies that are used in metaphysics. Analogical sets appear together when we first learn about them, but the closer we get to the second analogue the more we see it as distinct from the first. This happens by definition: analogous naming involves using some A to understand some B that is different from it, and which we know less well. In the beginning, B will be so conceptually close to A they will seem to have a single meaning, but developing the idea consists in making the difference between the two more and more pronounced. The intrinsic imperfection of such naming in metaphysics is that it seeks to articulate a difference which, if perfectly articulated, would do away with the principle by which the difference is known.

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