Argument From Analogy Essay

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The argument from analogy is an inductive argument that focuses on the problem of other minds and aims to show that we are justified in inferring the existence of other minds. British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, describes the argument from analogy as follows: “The behaviour of other people is in many ways analogous to our own, and we suppose that it must have analogous causes. What people say is what we should say if we had certain thoughts, and so we infer that they probably have these thoughts. They give us information which we can sometimes subsequently verify” (Russell, “Analogy”, p89). Norman Malcolm argues that the argument from analogy does poorly in its attempts to show that we are justified in inferring the existence of other minds. In assessing whether the argument from analogy succeeds in its aims, I will raise and respond to Malcolm’s objection against the argument from analogy; Austrian-born British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ‘Beetle in a Box’ thought experiment; as well as Welsh philosopher H. H. Price’s argument and English philosopher Stuart Hampshire’s argument in defence of the argument from analogy.…show more content…
From subjective observation, Russell claims to know that A, which is a thought or feeling, causes B, which is a bodily act (Russell, “Analogy”, p110). Russell argues that believing in the existence of other minds requires some postulate, and describes this postulate to be “If, whenever we can observe whether A and B are present or absent, we find that every case of B has an A as a causal antecedent, then it is probable that most B’s have A’s as causal antecedents, even in cases where observation does not enable us to know whether A is present or not” (Russell, “Analogy”,
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