Adapting Aquinas

Abstract
This paper enlarges the analogy of meaning doctrine to show that it is a general, law-like linguistic phenomenon, and not peculiar to philosophy. The theory of forms, considered as active, repeatable, intelligible structures of things (accessible as such to intelligent beings alone), is basic to ground the sciences of nature and to an account of knowledge. Aquinas’s accounts of real natures, universals, natural and angelic things, causation, abstraction, knowledge, etc. are grounded in the theory of forms. The theory of forms can be adapted to discern and even invent intelligible structures; thus we can account for real and common natures. Structures that are explanatory of the behavior of things, and are not themselves reductively explicable in terms of their own material components, are the constitutive structures of things and processes. There are real common natures of both things and processes, but ‘being common’ is the resultant of the physicalmultiplication of repeatable (because receivable) intelligible structure. Thus the commonness of a nature, like being human or being a chicken, is not antecedentto the individuals, as Plato thought, but consequent upon them
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