Discussion: analogies as generalizations

Analogies have been traditionally recognized as a proper part of inductive procedures, akin to generalizations. Seldom, however, have they been presented as superior to generalizations, in the attainability of a higher degree of certitude for their conclusions or in other respects. Though Bacon definitely preferred analogy to generalization1, the tradition seems to me to go the other way-until the recent publication of works by Mary B. Hesse ([2], pp.21-28 and passim) and, perhaps, R. Harr6 ([1], pp.23-28 and passim). The aim of the present note is to argue the following two points. First, generalizations proper are preferable to predictions from past observations to a single future observation, since the latter are ad hoc. Second, analogies are either generalizations proper-perhaps higher-level ones-or ad hoc. In any case, they are not more certain than generalizations, but they are still equally legitimate
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