Mainp softvnncom

While generalised and specific reasoning both depend on classifications of individual cases in relation to general categories, analogies depend on comparison and consistency between equally specific or equally general cases. First of all, good analogies that do not directly involve values are formed through comparing different things on the basis of consistency of knowledge. That is, we look around for known cases that are similar to the unknown case, so that we are better able to predict what we will find out. For example, if we knew that large oil spills at sea destroy the saltwater environment, we might also predict that similar spills in a freshwater lake would have a similarly destructive impact. Such analogies depend on the extent to which we are sure that the world is a consistent place, and that it is very unlikely we will find radical differences between cases similar in many respects.

Second, good analogies that involve values are formed through comparing different things on the basis of consistency of action or belief That is, we can use known cases that have known types of action or belief associated with them and that are similar to the unknown case to thereby conclude that similar actions or beliefs can be expected in those cases. Such analogies depend on the assumption that the world ought to be a consistent place and, to the extent that we can control what we do in the world, that we should always try to do the same things in similar situations. For example, we would think it most unreasonable if, of three cars parked illegally, only ours was given a parking ticket: such rules need to be applied consistently and we expect that they will be.

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