• MrPhilosopher
    4
    Greetings fellow philosophers,

    There is one element I have yet to fully comprehend. What does the further property or P exactly mean in the process of evaluating arguements from analogy? An example to show how the similarities of two points X and Y are closely related to the further property asserted to apply in the conclusion would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you for your altruism.
  • fdrake
    3.2k
    Arguments from analogy never formally establish what they seek to, their purpose is to exploit a posited structural symmetry between the argument topic and the analogy content which is easier to discus in terms of the analogy content. They're a type of 'intuition pump' as Dennet calls them.

    If you actually want to use an argument from analogy to establish a claim, you need to give a sub argument that the moving parts of the analogy represent the issue you are discussing without over simplification or irrelevance. This usually is not done.

    Being able to think analogically about an idea is an excellent way of forming and experimenting with your understanding of it. So long as you can translate your ideas into a more rigorous presentation if required anyway - analogical thinking is fast, intuitive but prone to over simplification and irrelevance, rigorous exegesis is slow and dense but a better guarantor of correctness.
  • SophistiCat
    1k
    Did you read this in Wikipedia Argument from analogy perhaps?

    P and Q are similar in respect to properties a, b, and c.
    P has been observed to have further property x.
    Therefore, Q probably has property x also.

    Perhaps it may help to think of a property of P as any predicate applied to P:

    P is red
    P works in a bank
    P happened yesterday
    P is wrong

    etc.

    The latter "property" of being wrong or right, good or bad is particularly common in rhetorical uses of analogy. So for example when someone compares refugee detention centers to concentration camps, the analogy is clearly meant to imply that treating refugees in this way is wrong.
  • T Clark
    4.2k


    Well thought out. I agree.

    There is a sense in which everything we know about the world is metaphorical. Gravity is called a force by analogy. Here's a description of the etymology of the word "force" from the Internet Etymological Dictionary:

    c. 1300, "physical strength," from Old French force "force, strength; courage, fortitude; violence, power, compulsion" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fortia (source also of Old Spanish forzo, Spanish fuerza, Italian forza), noun use of neuter plural of Latin fortis "strong, mighty; firm, steadfast; brave, bold" (see fort).

    So, ideas of force come from comparisons with the human or animal body. As the Greek said, "Man is the measure of all things." In that sense, all generalization is metaphor. Gravity is a force because it shares similarities with what happens when a horse pulls a plow.
  • MrPhilosopher
    4


    I apologize for my current inanities, but is Wikipedia a reliable source for Philosophy? Thank you for your comment.
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