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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Do analogies make implications?

    I'm having a problem with understanding analogies and the implications they make, if any. Allow me to give an example to illustrate my question. The political content of the analogy is unimportant. I'm not expressing a political viewpoint, it's just an example.

    Lets say the Democratic party(America) proposed a national gun registry. John, a critic of this proposal, uses an analogy to reason why this is a bad idea. James then points out the implications of John's analogy.

    John says, "The Nazi party started a national gun registry in Germany. That preceded a seizure of privately owned firearms. The national gun registry proposed by the Democratic party may precede a seizure of our privately owned firearms"

    James replies, "It's disgusting that you would compare the Democrats to genocidal murderers."

    I'm not asking if Johns analogy is strong (i.e. is it logical for him to reason an incoming firearms seizure). What I want to know is if James is correct when he accuses John of "comparing the Democrats to genocidal murderers." Do analogies make implications not explicitly mentioned in the analogy itself?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    When you use an analogy, you are certainly implying a similarity in the two situations. You are inviting the other person to compare the two situations.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Your scenario is not at all atypical of political discourse in America today. A reference to Nazis, by either side, is always an invitation to argument.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    I agree, but decided to go with the request to ignore the political content and just focus on the question.

    Although, having read some of the rabid rhetoric from people on both extremes these days... nothing seems out of bounds. (It's why I had to get off Facebook. Too many idiots.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    This does make me a little confused on how analogies are supposed to function.

    I thought analogies were used to imply that because two things are similar in some ways, they may be similar in other ways, but it is understood that they are not similar in all ways. For example, John's analogy would imply that because the Democratic and Nazi party are alike in one way (i.e. seeking to create a national gun registry) that they may be alike in another way (i.e. seeking to seize private firearms) but the analogy wouldn't imply that they are alike in all ways (i.e. murder and genocide)

    But Jame's response points out that Johns analogy implies that that Democrats are as evil/immoral and genocidal murders. So, what I am confused about concerning analogy is this: How do you know what similarities between two things are implied beyond those specifically mentioned in the analogy itself, and is it possible to make an analogy without implying certain similarities (i.e. can John reason by analogy of an impending gun seizure without likening Democrats to genocidal murderers)?

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Well, in this case, the discussion was derailed by a buzzword -- Nazis.

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Once you make the analogy, you have lost the ability to control what inferences your listener will draw about where the similarities start and where they end.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Wow, I really had wrong about analogies. I thought they were just tools for inductive reasoning. For example...

    James: "I'm a vegetarian, so I cant get irritable bowel syndrome"
    John: "Hitler was a vegetarian and he got IBS, so I don't think you're immune"

    I had no idea that analogy attempts to degrade James by comparing him to a mass murderer. I would have thought it was simply to reason that a vegetarian diet doesn't make one immune to IBS. I guess I'll need to be careful with analogies in the future and consider all the different ways they can be interpreted.

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    #9

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Well, for a start, James is wrong if he thinks he can't get IBS because he's a vegetarian. Secondly, John is wrong because, despite many myths still doing the rounds, Hitler wasn't a vegetarian (one of his last recorded meals included rabbit meat). Thirdly, John is not trying to degrade James by comparing him to a mass murderer. He is simply coming up with (or so he thinks) an example of someone who was vegetarian and also had IBS. He could just as easily have used his Auntie Mabel as an example (if she were an IBS-suffering vegetarian).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: Do analogies make implications?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian92 View Post
    Wow, I really had wrong about analogies. I thought they were just tools for inductive reasoning.
    That may be the theory, but in politics, misinterpreting your opponents' words to gain an advantage is standard- if you have a chance to make your opponent out as someone likening you to a Nazi, many would regard you as a fool not to take the chance as they'd do the same to you.

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