The Uses of Analogies
This paper analyzes different types of similarity judgments, including a distinction between quantitative and qualitative analogies. Then, a survey of the most frequent uses of both types of analogical judgments. The main goal of this paper is to highlight the variety of criteria that we should employ in determining the value of a similarity judgment, depending on its function. This is particularly relevant for the appraisal of analogical argumentation. In particular, we argue for the importance of distinguishing between analogical argumentation and classificatory argumentation.
KeywordsAnalogical argumentation Classificatory argumentation Explanatory analogies Exploratory analogies Qualitative analogies Quantitative analogies Uses of analogies
I wish to thank Javier Rodríguez Alcázar, Frank Zenker and David Hitchcock for helpful discussions on the topic of this paper. I am also indebted to the participants and audience of the Colloquium The Role of Analogy in Argumentative Discourse, held in Coimbra in May 2013, for a lively debate of some of the ideas presented here.
This work has been financed by a Ramón y Cajal Research Fellowship of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and by the research projects FFI2011-23125 and FFI2011-24414 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
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