analogy can be valid (53)

(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.


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