The Cumulative Force of Analogies

David Botting



In this paper I will argue that most objections to deductive analyses of a priori analogies are incorrect, often involve basic misinterpretations of what the deductive reconstruction of those arguments are saying, and sometimes also betray a confusion about what part of the reasoning corresponds to the analogical inference. In particular, I will be focusing on a raft of objections made by Juthe in [2015] and subject his alternative views to criticism.

I will then argue that Juthe does implicitly have a good argument against deductivism: adding further analogues seems to have a cumulative force that they would not have on a deductivist analysis. This is so not only in ordinary analogical arguments but, perhaps surprisingly, with a priori analogical arguments. I will then argue that this does not favor a sui generis view of the analogical argument over inductivist views, and attempt to show that a confirmation-theoretic approach to analogical inference makes the best sense of our intuitions about the strength of analogical arguments.


aarguments by analogy; a priori analogy; deductivism; complex analogies; inferential strength

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