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4 - Mach on Analogy in Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2021

John Preston
Affiliation:
University of Reading
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Summary

I examine Mach’s views on how analogy is used in natural science. Omissions of key parts of the text in translations and reprints of his 1904 paper on the topic have contributed to a lack of understanding of what he said and thus to a lack of appreciation of his views. I distinguish two different kinds of analogies that he discusses: in the common use of the term, an analogy is drawn between two objects and is feature-based. In the powerful use made of it in the historical case studies he refers to in talking about analogy in natural science, an analogy is drawn between two systems of concepts, and so opens up a role for scientific laws and principles to play in analogies.

Type
Chapter
Information
Interpreting Mach
Critical Essays
, pp. 67 - 83
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

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