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The Logic of Conspiracy Theories II: Analogical Argument

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Image Credit This essay continues the discussion of the logic of conspiracy theories. As noted in the previous essay, conspiracy theorists can make use of effective methods of inductive reasoning when arguing for their theory. While previously looking at the argument from authority, I will now look at the analogical argument. An analogical argument is an argument in which one concludes that two things are alike in a certain respect because they are alike in other respects. An analogical argument will typically have three premises and a conclusion. The first premise two premises establish the analogy by showing that the things (X and Y) in question are similar in certain respects (properties P, Q, R, etc.).  The third premise establishes that X has an additional quality, Z. The conclusion asserts that Y has property or feature Z as well. The form looks like this:           Premise 1: X has properties P,Q, and R.           Premise 2: Y has properties P,Q, and R.           Premise 3: X has property Z.           Conclusion: Y has property Z. While one might wonder how reasoning by analogy could lead to a conspiracy theory, it does make sense. If the property Z is taken as some key feature of a conspiracy theory, such as a company acting in an evil way with the collusion of the state, all that is needed to make the argument for a conspiracy theory is a case in which something is known to have that property. Then it is simply a manner of drawing the analogy.  For example, consider someone who thinks that vaccines are unsafe and that there is a conspiracy to present them as safe. They could make an analogical argument comparing what we know happened with opioids (pharmaceutical companies lying about the danger of opioids, doctors being bribed to prescribe,. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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