What’s an Analogy Analogous To?

Supposing somebody didn’t know what an analogy was?  How could he find out?

Could somebody explain it to him by an analogy?  Could somebody say “Look –an analogy bears the same relationship to the thing I am analogizing as does a dream of a river to our waking fear of death, an image in a mirror does to the thing mirrored, tears do the overburdened heart?

How could that help?  Because it would seem to understand the analogy, the person would have to understand what an analogy was already, and thus it would be useless.

And yet we are not born knowing what analogies are.


3 thoughts on “What’s an Analogy Analogous To?

  1. Like so many other fun things in life, it all comes back to — wait for it — math! According to my etymological dictionary, the word “analogy” comes originally from the Ancient Greek “analogia,” which means “equality of ratios.” So the relation between 1 and 10 is analogous to the relation between 10 and 100. It makes sense, God willing and the river don’t rise, in which case we’re left with the dream symbolizing death. I hate those.

  2. It’s basically an exaptation of remapping actions. Eg if you have a door and you know how to open it by turning the handle of pushing, what about a tinier door. In direct association it’s suddenly an unknown how to open it. With remapping of process, you ‘know’ to turn the handle a push. I say you ‘know’ because it’s heuristic – the little door might not work like that at all.

    Or so I would analogize it with such a mechanistic explanation. But that’s again analogy defining itself via analogy, so what a rabbit hole to go down eh?

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