Such as abortion gun control and medical practices of

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such as abortion, gun control, and medical practices of all sorts (including vaccinations and transplants). Legal arguments are often based on finding precedents—analogous cases that have already been decided. Recent arguments presented in the debate over gun control have drawn conclusions based on analogies that compare the United States with other countries, including Switzerland and Japan. Whether these and similar arguments are strong enough to establish their conclusions depends on just how similar the cases are and the degree and number of dissimilarities and contrary cases. Being aware of similar cases that have already occurred or that are occurring in other areas can vastly improve one’s wisdom about how best to address the topic at hand. The importance of analogies in moral reasoning is sometimes captured in the principle of equal treatment —that if two things are analogous in all morally relevant respects, then what is right (or wrong) to do in one case will be right (or wrong) to do in the other case as well. For example, if it is right for a teacher to fail a student for missing the final exam, then another student who does the same thing should also be failed. Whether the teacher happens to like one student more than the other should not make a difference, because that is not a morally relevant difference when it comes to grading. The reasoning could look as follows: Things that are similar in all morally relevant respects should be treated the same. Student A was failed for missing the final exam. Student B also missed the final exam. Therefore, student B should be failed as well. It follows from the principle of equal treatment that if two things should be treated differ- ently, then there must be a morally relevant difference between them to justify this different treatment. An example of the application of this principle might be in the interrogation of prisoners of war. If one country wants to subject prisoners of war to certain kinds of harsh treatments but objects to its own prisoners being treated the same way by other countries, then there need to be relevant differences between the situations that justify the different treatment. Otherwise, the country is open to the charge of moral inconsistency. This principle, or something like it, comes up in many other types of moral debates, such as about abortion and animal ethics. Animal rights advocates, for example, say that if we object to people harming cats and dogs, then we are morally inconsistent to accept to the same treat- ment of cows, pigs, and chickens. One then has to address the question of whether there are differences in the beings or in their use for food that justify the differences in moral consid- eration we give to each. © 2015 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution.
Section 5.7 Arguments From Analogy Other Uses of Analogies Analogies are the basis for parables, allegories, and forms of writing that try to give a moral. The phrase “The moral of the story is . . .” may be featured at the end of such stories, or the author may simply imply that there is a lesson

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