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We can improve on this preliminary characterization of the argumentfrom analogy by introducing the tabular representation foundin Hesse (1966). We place corresponding objects, properties,relations and propositions side-by-side in a table of two columns, onefor each domain. For instance, Reid's argument ()can be represented asfollows (using ⇒ for the analogical inference):

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Analogies have a related (and not entirely separable)justificatory role. This role is most obvious where ananalogical argument is explicitly offered in support of someconclusion. The intended degree of support for the conclusion canvary considerably. At one extreme, these arguments can bedemonstrative. For example(),hydrodynamic analogies exploit mathematical similarities between the equationsgoverning ideal fluid flow and torsional problems. To predict stressesin a planned structure, one can construct a fluid model, i.e., asystem of pipes through which water passes (Timoshenko and Goodier1970). Here we have a special type of analogy, nomicisomorphism (Hempel 1965): the physical laws governing the twosystems have identical mathematical form. Within the limits ofidealization, the analogy allows us to make demonstrative inferencesfrom a measured quantity in the fluid model to the analogous value inthe torsional problem. In practice, there are numerous complications(Sterrett 2006).


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There is a further problem that relates to the distinction just made(in ) between two kinds ofplausibility. Each of the above criteria apart from (G7) isexpressed in terms of the strength of the argument, i.e., the degree ofsupport for the conclusion. The criteria thus appear topresuppose the probabilistic interpretation ofplausibility. The problem is that a great many analogicalarguments aim to establish prima facie plausibility ratherthan any degree of probability. Most of the guidelines are notdirectly applicable to such arguments.


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(The earlier art and architecture of medieval Europe between 700-1100 CE is known as "Romanesque.") Characteristics of Gothic architecture include the pointed arch and vault, the flying buttress, stained glass, and the use of gargoyles and grotesques fitted into the nooks and crannies unoccupied by images of saints and biblical figures.

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An analogy is a comparison between two objects, or systems ofobjects, that highlights respects in which they are thought to besimilar. Analogical reasoning is any type ofthinking that relies upon an analogy. An analogicalargument is an explicit representation of a form ofanalogical reasoning that cites accepted similarities between twosystems to support the conclusion that some further similarityexists. In general (but not always), such arguments belong in thecategory of inductive reasoning, since their conclusions do not followwith certainty but are only supported with varying degrees ofstrength. Here, ‘inductive reasoning’ is used in a broadsense that includes all inferential processes that “expandknowledge in the face of uncertainty” (Holland et al. 1986: 1),including .

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Analogies are widely recognized as playing an importantheuristic role, as aids to discovery. They have beenemployed, in a wide variety of settings and with considerable success,to generate insight and to formulate possible solutions toproblems. According to Joseph Priestley, a pioneer in chemistryand electricity,

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Guided by thisanalogy, physicists looked for groups of spectral lines that exhibitedfrequency patterns characteristic of a harmonic oscillator. Thisanalogy served not only to underwrite the plausibility of conjectures,but also to guide and limit discovery by pointing scientistsin certain directions.