Analogies Hard and Soft

  • Joseph Agassi
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 197)


This chapter belongs to the social psychology of the scientific endeavor. Social psychology presents aspects of life which effect personally all or most (or at least many) members of a given society (or culture or subculture or stratum or sub-stratum). Now, fascination is a very personal matter, yet one aspect of life may fascinate a large public. Freud has claimed that we are fascinated by what we both strongly desire and strongly fear, such as incest; or, to take a more modern example, spouse-swapping. The famous popular historian of mathematics, E. T. Bell, is known to have said on many occasions that the making of wild hypotheses is a violation akin to, perhaps worse than, adultery. Analogy, analogously, is akin to spouse-swapping or, more to the point, intended-swapping. And I wish to present and cogently explain the fascination of analogy — including my present analogy of analogy with intended-swapping — for those who deem hypotheses immoral, and its absence for the permissive who think every hypothesis is welcome.


Natural Classification Good Analogy Turing Test Western Education Perfect Analogy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Agassi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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