Objection 5 - Objection 5: The Argument from Analogy Lends...

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Objection 5: The Argument from Analogy Lends Only Very Weak Support to the Conclusion This objection has been advanced by a number of philosophers. Norman Malcolm, for example, mentions this objection in passing in his article on "Knowledge of Other Minds": "I shall pass by the possible objection that this would be very weak inductive reasoning, based as it is on the observation of a single instance." The basic thrust of this fifth objection is thus that the reasoning involved in the argument from analogy is just like the reasoning that would be involved if someone were to open a green box, find that the inside was painted red, and then conclude that probably all green boxes are painted red on the inside. It may be true that one's examining a green box and finding that it is painted red on the inside makes it slightly more probable that other green boxes are also painted red on the inside, but surely it does not make it sufficiently probable for one to be justified in believing that other green boxes are painted red on the inside. Similarly, the fact that one has discovered that one physical object - one's own body - has a mind associated with it is surely not sufficient grounds for concluding that similar physical objects probably have minds associated with them. One common reply is that the analogy is unfair, since in the case of the argument from analogy one has observed correlations between physical states and mental states on a number of occasions, so that the reasoning is not really generalization based upon a single instance. Thus, for example, I have pressed my hands together a large number of times, and each time I have experienced a certain sort of tactile sensation. So the conclusion that when hands are pressed together, certain tactile sensations are produced rests upon a large number of instances. The counter reply then runs as follows. The suggested reasoning can be compared with that of a person who opens a green box, finds that it's red on the inside, closes it, then opens it again, and finds that it's red on the inside, closes it, then opens it again, and finds that it's red on the
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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Objection 5 - Objection 5: The Argument from Analogy Lends...

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