Argument by analogy


An argument by analogy is that argument that is made by extrapolating the information from a certain case to a different one. This is due to the fact that they share numerous characteristics in common.

The argument by analogy is also very common. Its use is very frequent to give personal opinions on a case that we do not know but that, by sharing a series of characteristics with others that we do know, we believe that it will occur in a certain way.

Why is it used in unknown cases? Because having not experienced first-hand what we mean, we cannot make a solid argument through experience. Therefore, until then, it is only possible to apply our experiences in similar cases. An example of this is the quality of a new car model of a certain brand, given the impossibility of arguing whether it is good or bad due to the lack of analysis in this regard, only our previous experiences can be applied.

It should be noted that the greater the number of cases that can be analogous, the more weight the argument will have. Knowing a case, which can be isolated, is not the same as having the support of many of them.

False analogy in arguments

You also have to be careful with false analogies that turn into fallacies. The analogy does not always work, it is not an infallible argumentative method, although it may be well constructed.

False analogies are those that are not well constructed and are used in a tricky way. The issuer shows us the cases as similar, but they are really very different, or there is some substantial difference, or the case it is trying to extrapolate is an exception.

Let's see an example of a false analogy:

The leader of party X calls on citizens to preferably consume local products. Subsequently, this is called fascist by the opposition, since one of the characteristics of Mussolini's Italy was the protectionist and autarkic measures. The analogy is false, since fascism encompasses a multitude of characteristics, not just protectionist measures on trade.


In order to construct an argument by analogy, two factors must be present: first, that we talk about a case that we have not personally experienced; and second, that we know similar cases that facilitate extrapolation.

These similarities must be identified between cases. For example, following the previous case of the car, let's say the new car is brand A. We do not know how it will work because we have not had it, in fact, it has just been released. But it turns out that our current car is of that brand, a different model and a few years older, but the manufacturer is the same. In this case, we are delighted with our car because it has few problems, consumption is minimal and the price is quite low. We also have a cousin and a good close friend who, like us, has a car of that brand and they think the same as us.

With which, we have enough information to extrapolate our experience to the new case. We can argue that because our brand A car has the positive attributes mentioned above, the new brand A car will surely have them.

Recapitulating, to build an argument by analogy, the following must be taken into account:

  1. The case on which we are going to argue we have not previously experienced.
  2. We have experienced similar cases, or we know of other people who have.
  3. We look for possible coincidences between both cases and carry out the extrapolation.

Examples of arguments by analogy

Some added examples could be the following:

When it comes to going to see a play. We know that the protagonists are the actors Juan, Natalia and Cristina. We have not seen the play, but we liked the interpretations these three actors gave a lot when they shared the stage. With which, we can hope that the new work that they have released will like us like the previous ones.

When we go to buy clothes. We have several garments of a certain brand and, with the passage of time, the colors tend to fade. Due to that experience, when we go to buy new clothes, we will choose to change brands.

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