Analogy (rhetoric)

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The analogy is a rhetorical figure in which a relationship between things and properties or between each other or their evaluation is explained by known, similar or partially identical relationships.

An analogy exists when two things or facts are similar in some characteristics, even if they may differ in other characteristics. Known information from a comparable factual context or a consensus already found in a comparable context is used to illustrate another context or to reinforce an argument in another context. If specific conclusions for the new, comparable factual context are drawn from the already known factual context, one speaks of an analogy conclusion .

In simple terms, an analogy is used to look at and approach a problem from a different perspective. Has one z. For example, if you have a problem with your work, you can look in another industry to see how similar problems were solved. The problem is abstracted to such an extent that enough analogies can be found. A concrete solution to the problem should, however, be clearly recognizable, i. H. the degree of abstraction must not be chosen too far.

There is a logical analogy between two arguments if they have the same shape. It can be used to show that certain arguments can be logically true or false, if one finds another argument in the same logical form, whose premises are all true, but its conclusions are false. Example:

“The supporters of the creation theory often emphasize that we (evolution theorists) cannot explain everything. As a statement from a group that many conclude that they cannot explain anything, this sounds strange. To reject the theory of evolution today because it cannot explain everything would be just as nonsensical as to switch off established medicine because it cannot cure the common cold. "
  • "Equality is the soul of friendship." ( Aristotle )
  • The proverb "Many cooks spoil the broth" is used to argue against democratic decision-making structures by analogy.


  • MJFM Hoenen: Analogy . In: G. Ueding (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of rhetoric . Vol. 1. Tübingen 1992. Sp. 498-514.
  • Karen Gloy: Reason and the Other of Reason, Freiburg, Munich 2001
  • K. Gloy / M. Bachmann (ed.): The analogy thinking. Forays into a new area of ​​the theory of rationality . Freiburg / Munich 2000.
  • H.-G. Coenen: Analogy and Metaphor. Foundation of a theory of pictorial speech . Berlin / New York 2002.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. John A. Moore, Countering the Creationists . In: Academe , Vol. 68, No. 2, March / April 1982, p. 6.