Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Faulty Analogy

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Faulty Analogy

A sister shares things in common with her brother. At the very least, they share DNA in common. However, just because they are siblings, a sister and a brother are not perfectly alike in every way. This seems obvious, but similar mistakes are made in logical argumentation. Such a mistake is called a faulty analogy.

Faulty Analogy Definition

Faulty analogy is a logical fallacy. A fallacy is an error of some kind.

A logical fallacy is employed like a logical reason, but it is actually flawed and illogical.

Faulty analogy is specifically an informal logical fallacy, which means that its fallacy lies not in the structure of the logic (which would be a formal logical fallacy), but rather in something else.

A faulty analogy is saying that two things are alike in other ways just because they are alike in one way.

It should be easy to see how this can go wrong.

Faulty Analogy Synonyms

The faulty analogy is also called the false analogy.

The term has no direct Latin equivalent.

Uses of Faulty Analogy

Faulty analogies can appear in many forms. Here’s a simple use of the faulty analogy.

They are both cars. Therefore, they both run on gas.

Of course, two cars don’t necessarily share other attributes in common. One car could be electric. In fact, both could be electric!

Faulty analogies can be more absurd than this car example. As long as two things share something in common, a false analogy can be made.

Snow is white. That bird is white. Because these things are alike, that bird is also cold like snow.

The logical error of this isn’t hard to explain, but is nevertheless important to understand.

Faulty analogy white bird example StudySmarterTwo alike things are not the same thing, flaticon.

Faulty Analogy as a Logical Fallacy

To put it simply, a faulty analogy is a logical fallacy because the premise isn't true.

Snow is white. That bird is white. Because these things are alike, that bird is also cold like snow.

The premises here is, "Because these things are alike." However, in reality, while they share whiteness in common, they do not share everything in common.

A faulty analogy assumes that one similarity means multiple similarities. Since this is not always true, to make that assumption is a logical fallacy.

Because a faulty analogy is based on a misconception or assumption, it is a logical fallacy.

Faulty Analogy Example (Essay)

The examples so far have been simple, to illustrate what a faulty analogy is at its most basic level. However, you are unlikely to find such a blunt and simple use of faulty analogy in an essay. Here’s how a faulty analogy might actually appear.

In a study of minimum wageworkers in Outlandia, a suburb of New Flyswatter City, researchers determined that 68% of the demographic are white and that 90% are under the age of 21. Conducted by Root Cause in 2022, this study disproves the popular notion that many minimum wage workers are struggling minorities and poor people. As has always been the case in this country, minimum wage jobs are held by kids, including many white ones. Adults with minimum wage jobs are a tiny minority, and they probably have other issues."

This essay excerpt contains multiple fallacies, but can you spot the faulty analogy? The faulty analogy is that people with minimum wage jobs in Outlandia are the same kind of people with minimum wage jobs elsewhere.

Outlandia is a suburban area, and is most likely not indicative of the entire city, much less the entire state or country. To equate different groups simply because those groups all hold minimum wage jobs is to employ a faulty analogy.

Faulty analogy suburb example StudySmarterDon't assume things about everywhere based on one place, flaticon.

Tips to avoid faulty analogy

To avoid creating a faulty analogy, here are a few things to look out for.

  • Don’t make assumptions. This means that you shouldn’t take something to be true without evidence. If a topic is hotly debated, you should not take the truthfulness of one side for granted, just because you have agreed with “that side” in the past.

  • Go a step deeper in your research. Cursory research can be as dangerous as no research. In fact, it can be worse! Consider again the essay excerpt. The evidence they misused gave their conclusion an air of legitimacy. Poor research can give you and your readers a false sense of truthfulness.

  • Look for differences in things. When drawing an analogy, don't just look for things in common. Also try to look for things not in common. This will help you not to create a faulty analogy.

The Difference Between Faulty Analogy and False Cause

As you know, a faulty analogy is saying that two things are alike in other ways just because they are alike in one way. On the other hand, a false cause is something different.

A false cause is believing that Y is caused by X, simply because Y follows X.

Say that Frank checks his phone, and then he gets mad at his friends. The false cause fallacy is to assume that Frank got mad at his friends because he checked his phone. This might be true, but he could have gotten mad for any other reason, too.

A faulty analogy is not concerned with cause and effect, unlike the false cause.

Difference Between Faulty Analogy and Hasty Generalization

More similar to the faulty analogy is the hasty generalization.

A hasty generalization is reaching a generalized conclusion about something based on a small sample of evidence.

A faulty analogy is a kind of hasty generalization because the fallacious party reaches a broad conclusion about something based on its similarity to one thing. However, not all hasty generalizations are faulty analogies. Here’s an example.

There’s an awful lot of crime in this part of town. The folks around here are criminals.

This erroneous conclusion is based on a statistic, not an unsound analogy, which makes it a hasty generalization but not a faulty analogy.

Faulty Analogy - Key Takeaways

  • A faulty analogy is saying that two things are alike in other ways just because they are alike in one way.
  • A faulty analogy is a logical fallacy because its premise is not sound.
  • To avoid creating a faulty analogy, do in-depth research on a topic before drawing a conclusion.
  • The faulty analogy is also called the false analogy.
  • The faulty analogy is not the same as a false cause or hasty generalization.

Frequently Asked Questions about Faulty Analogy

A faulty analogy is saying that two things are alike in other ways just because they are alike in one way.  

Faulty analogies are misleading. They should not be used in a logical argument.

Yes.

False analogy.

A false analogy, also called a faulty analogy, is saying that two things are alike in other ways just because they are alike in one way.  

Final Faulty Analogy Quiz

Question

"Snow is white. That bird is white. Therefore, that bird is cold."

What is this an example of?

Show answer

Answer

All of the other answers!

Show question

Question

A faulty analogy is what kind of fallacy?

Show answer

Answer

Informal

Show question

Question

"They are both cars. Therefore they both run on gas."


Is this a faulty analogy?

Show answer

Answer

Yes.

Show question

Question

"There’s an awful lot of crime in this part of town. The folks around here are criminals."


Is this a faulty analogy?

Show answer

Answer

No. This is a hasty generalization. 

Show question

Question

As long as two things share _____ in common, a false analogy can be made.


Show answer

Answer

One thing

Show question

Question

Does a faulty analogy use valid logic?

Show answer

Answer

Yes. However, it is does not use sound logic.

Show question

Question

Why is a faulty analogy unsound?

Show answer

Answer

Because the premise of a faulty analogy is not true.

Show question

Question

"Statistics cannot create a false analogy."

True or false?

Show answer

Answer

False. Statistics, when misapplied to people or places they don't quantify, can create a false analogy.

Show question

Question

To avoid faulty analogy, don't _____.


Show answer

Answer

Make assumptions

Show question

Question

To avoid faulty analogy, _____.

Show answer

Answer

Go deeper into your research

Show question

Question

If your premise is unsound, can you have a faulty analogy?

Show answer

Answer

No. The premise of a faulty analogy is unsound.

Show question

Question

What is another name for a faulty analogy?

Show answer

Answer

False analogy.

Show question

Question

Is a faulty analogy a false cause?

Show answer

Answer

No. A false cause is believing that Y is caused by X, simply because Y follows X.

Show question

Question

Is a faulty analogy a kind of hasty generalization?

Show answer

Answer

Yes. A faulty analogy is a kind of hasty generalization, because the fallacious party reaches a broad conclusion about something based on its similarity to one thing. 

Show question

Question

Is a hasty generalization a kind of faulty analogy?

Show answer

Answer

No. A hasty generalization is reaching a generalized conclusion about something based on a small sample of evidence. It does not require the use of analogy.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Faulty Analogy quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.