Attribute, Attributive. The attribute, as its name imports, is that
which is ascribed to anything. Hence it is the French term for the
predicate. It is not, however, a very happy one, for it naturally
denotes no more than the ascription of quality, or affirmation of
accident, but does not readily include negation. Neither is it easily
applied to the reciprocating or substitutive proposition. The French are
consequently obliged to distinguish between the attribut logique, and
the attribut metaphysique, and even then they do not get over the
disadvantage of the term.
We are forced by the necessities of thought and language to speak of the
Divine Attributes, such as goodness, wisdom, omnipotence,
&c. It must
always be remembered in thus applying the word that we are denoting no
accidents, but that each of these is of the essence of Godhead.
Attributive is a name given to the proposition de inesse, in which we
refer the subject to a class,
i. e. predicate of it some quality or accident. This is, to speak the
language of Kant, the synthetic as contrasted with the analytic
judgment. The latter is identical with the reciprocating or
substitutive proposition just mentioned, in which the subject and
predicate are commensurate and convertible, and in which attribut, as we
have seen, is not a felicitous name for the latter.