Conditions for consistency of inferences by analogy
The probability of conclusions by analogy can fluctuate very much. If it is extremely small, they say that the analogy is untenable. An analogy can be considered consistent only if the transfer of a feature found on one subject to another really has grounds in common features.
The consistency of the analogy correlates with the probability of all conclusions. The analogy is consistent if the conclusion is sufficiently likely for its practical acceptability. Then we are talking about increasing the probability of output (Figure 10.4).
Typically, the factors that increase its probability include the following.
• The number of common characteristics. The more signs of similarity, the more grounds for transferring information from the model to the prototype, the higher the likelihood of reliable conclusions. But the matter is not only in quantity, but also in the quality of assimilations. In the example given, where the goat was compared to a pike, and then to a rooster, in both cases, many more similarities could be listed. But this creature case would not change, the analogy as it was untenable would remain.
Fig. 10.4. The likelihood of an analogy
• The essentiality of similarity. General characteristics should be significant for the compared objects. The absence of such similarity makes conclusions by analogy insolvent.
• Variety of signs of similarity. Common characteristics should be as diverse as possible and characterize the compared objects from different sides.
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• The number and importance of points of difference. There are no absolutely similar phenomena in nature: the highest degree of similarity always presupposes differences. Hence, in any case, there are differences between the compared objects. They have different effects on the derivation of inferences by analogy. In some cases, the differences are not significant, i.e. compatible with the carry feature. They do not prevent the assimilation and transfer of the trait, although, as a rule, they modify the form, intensity or conditions of its conduct. Properties that prevent the transfer of a characteristic from one subject to another are significant differences. As a rule, they are incompatible with a tolerable property or attitude. Even with a significant similarity of similar objects, there may be such differences that make it impossible to correctly transfer information from one subject to another.
• The connection of the carried sign with the signs of similarity. You can fulfill all of the above conditions: to identify many similar features, while significant and characterizing the likened items from different sides, to make sure that the differences are not significant (and they can be neglected), and so nevertheless, the analogy may turn out to be untenable if the carried sign does not have a significant connection with the signs of similarity.
This list of rules IB Novik and AI Uemov supplement these rules with some justification:
1) the general properties should be any properties of the compared objects, i.e. pick up without prejudice against properties of some type;
2) the property Pn + i ie. the property found in the model must be of the same type as the general properties (/ , ... P ");
3) the general properties (/ , ... P ") should be as specific as possible for the items being compared; belong to the smallest possible circle of objects;
4) the property of Pie + 1, on the contrary, should be the least specific; belong to as many objects as possible.
Analogy as a kind of inference is widely used in everyday life, and in scientific and practical activities. Its cognitive role lies in the fact that it often leads us to guesses, stimulates the imagination, pushes for unexpected associations, ideas. In this sense, transductive reasoning carries a heuristic potential.
But the analogy can also perform the functions of explanation, proof, be a convenient tool for making historical parallels in order to build forecasts, etc. It is important only to take into account that the formal conclusion by analogy is all the more probable the more fully the rules for carrying characteristics from one subject to another are realized.
An analogy is a kind of indirect reasoning in which premisses and conclusions are judgments of the same degree of generality.
The analogy of properties and relationships is most often distinguished by the nature of the transferred characteristics, although functions, forms, cause-effect relationships, etc. can be assigned to such attributes
In terms of the probability of confinement, a strict, non-strict and false analogy is singled out. Conclusion by strict analogy is sometimes close to reliability, i.e. to the value of probability equal to one, and by false analogy is zero.
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The condition for the consistency of conclusions by analogy is observance of factors that increase the probability of inferential activity.
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