Aristotle examines the subject of analogical inference or “reasoning by example” under the heading of the Greek word παραδειγμα, from which comes the English word paradigm. In its original sense the word suggests a kind of “side-show”, or a parallel comparison of cases.
We have an Example (παραδειγμα, or analogy) when the major extreme is shown to be applicable to the middle term by means of a term similar to the third. It must be known both that the middle applies to the third term and that the first applies to the term similar to the third.
E.g., let A be “bad”, B “to make war on neighbors”, C “Athens against Thebes”, and D “Thebes against Phocis”. Then if we require to prove that war against Thebes is bad, we must be satisfied that war against neighbors is bad. Evidence of this can be drawn from similar examples, e.g., that war by Thebes against Phocis is bad. Then since war against neighbors is bad, and war against Thebes is against neighbors, it is evident that war against Thebes is bad.
(Aristotle, “Prior Analytics” 2.24)
Figure 6 shows the logical relationships involved in Aristotle’s example of analogy.
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