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Perfect Analogy Fallacy

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In the ongoing ideological battle, I have been using arguments by analogy to defend governmental mask requirements. My silly comparison is to laws against public nudity. My serious comparisons are to such things as automobile safety laws and regulations governing food handling. After engaging in discussions with people who disagree with me, I have been pushed to consider analogical reasoning in more depth. This essay focuses on these considerations. But first, to the basics of the argument. Informally speaking, an argument by analogy is an argument in which it is concluded that because two things are alike in certain ways, they are alike in some other way. More formally, the argument looks like this:   Premise 1: X and Y have properties P, Q, R. Premise 2: X has property Z. Conclusion: Y has property Z.   X and Y are variables that stand for whatever is being compared, such as mask ordinances and automobile safety regulations. P, Q, R, and are also variables, but they stand for properties or features that X and Y are known to possess, such as protecting people from danger. Z is also a variable and it stands for the property or feature that X is known to possess, such as being an acceptable imposition by the government. The use of P, Q, and R is just for the sake of the illustration—the things being compared might have many more properties in common. An argument by analogy is an inductive argument. This means that it is supposed to be such that if all the premises are true, then the conclusion is probably true. Like other inductive arguments, the argument by analogy is assessed by applying standards to determine the quality of the logic. Like all arguments, there is also the question of whether the premises are true. The strength of an analogical argument’s logic depends on three factors. To the degree that an analogical argument meets these standards it is a strong argument. To the degree that it fails, it is weak. If the argument is weak enough it can be. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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