Byron's Babbles

SLIPPERIER

Posted in Analogy, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 10, 2021

An analogy can make a complex problem seem simpler by comparing it to a similar situation. Giving an analogy is to claim that two distinct things are alike or similar in some respect. I was reminded this week while reading Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, that arguments based on analogies have certain inherent weaknesses. As Heinlein wrote in this great novel, “Analogy is even slipperier than logic.” We can’t always assume that because two things are similar, that everything that is true about one is true about the other. For a guy that lives my metaphor and analogy this was an important reminder.

Analogical arguments or arguments by analogy as they are called rely on analogies, but we need to remember that any two things we can talk about usually have things that are similar and things that are not. Therefore, we must remember to make certain where the object of the analogy and the object being used as the analogy are similar. Then we can proceed to discussing whether these similarities do indeed support the conclusion being made.

This was all pretty good stuff to think about because I know I have heard some pretty wild analogies made in discussions before. And…I’m pretty sure I have made a few wild ones myself. So let’s work not to be “slipperier than logic.”