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False Analogy

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > False Analogy

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

X has property Y. Z  is like X. Z therefore has property Y.

Use analogical comparisons to connect the item in question to another item that has desired characteristics. You can then claim that the first item has the desired property.

Example

People are like dogs. They respond best to clear discipline.

This soap is like a dream. It lifts you up to a spiritual plane.

A school is not so different from a business. It needs a clear competitive strategy that will lead to profitable growth.

Discussion

Analogy is saying 'A is like B' and is a powerful way of explaining one thing in terms of another. Where it falls down is when A is assumed to be like B in all respects and any attribute or characteristic of B can be unequivocally attributed to A.

In the false metaphor variant, the comparison is metaphoric. As analogies say 'A is like B', metaphors say 'A is B'.

  • Analogy: She is like a dog
  • Metaphor: She is a dog

The effect is still the same: the attributes of the analogy or metaphor are brought back to the original subject. The major difference is that in a metaphor, the equation is more explicit and direct.

The typical fallacy in this is that the comparison is not a good one and creates significant falsehood.

Classification

Analogy, Inductive, Falsehood

Also known as

False Metaphor

See also

Analogy, Metaphor

 

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