The Logical and Pragmatic Structure of Arguments from Analogy

Fabrizio Macagno


The reasoning process of analogy is analyzed as a strict interdependence between a process of abstraction of a common feature and the transfer of an attribute of the Analogue to the Primary Subject. The first reasoning step is regarded as an abstraction of a generic characteristic that is relevant for the attribution of the predicate. The abstracted feature can be considered from a logic-semantic perspective as a functional genus, in the sense that it is contextually essential for the attribution of the predicate, i.e. that is pragmatically fundamental (i.e. relevant) for the predication, or rather the achievement of the communicative intention. While the transfer of the predicate from the analogue to the analogical genus and from the genus to the primary subject is guaranteed by the maxims, or rules of inference, governing the genus-species relation, the connection between the genus and the predicate can be complex, characterized by various types of reasoning patterns. The relevance relation can hide an implicit argument from classification, or an evaluation based on values, consequences or rules, or a causal relation, or an argument from practical reasoning.


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