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A respect in which one thing is similar to another. The analogical extension of terms is the way in which a term covers similar things: people, bottles, and rivers have mouths. Shops, boxes, verdicts, ports, strings of a violin, questions, roads, and books may all be open, but in analogical senses. Analogy butts uponliteral meaning, but also upon metaphor, and thus forms a perplexing phenomenon in the philosophy of language (see also rulefollowing). Arguing by analogy is arguing that since things are alike in some ways, they will probably be alike in others. Its famous uses in philosophy include the argument to design and the argument by analogy to the existence of other minds: if you behave like me, and I have such and such mental states when I so behave, then by analogy you probably do so too. But: ‘How can I generalize the one case so irresponsibly?’ (Wittgenstein). In medieval philosophy an important question was whether we can make statements about God only by analogy. See also Cajetan, metaphor, models (science).

Subjects: Philosophy.

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