analogy can be valid (53)
Published by The Bethlehem Gadfly
Edward J. Gallagher, Bethlehem immigrant, retired, nearly 50 years as Professor of American Literature at Lehigh University, known as "Dr. G" and "Conan the Grammarian" to students, whose virtual world avatar "EdwardScholarhands" stares at you here, has reinvented himself as the Bethlehem Gadfly. View all posts by The Bethlehem Gadfly
(53rd in a series of posts about 2 W. Market St.)
Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.
I think analogy can be a very good way to make a valid point [ref ON’s argument, post 47], partly because it is often clearer than factual arguments that get lost in the details. I think ‘factual’ arguments too often argue a ‘straw man’, a premise that is inserted just because it’s easy to attack. (Although a false analogy serves much the same purpose.)
To be valid, it’s essential to make sure the analogy is a good one, that the conditions (and, in this case, the proposed change) are truly parallel.
With either type of argument, getting to a valid conclusion requires attention to details & logical analysis. Unfortunately, what we often see is looking for things that support your starting position instead of real analysis; this is true not only for City Council, we also see it in most business & corporate environments, not to mention other institutions of all sizes.