This introductory chapter motivates the importance of a normative theory of analogical arguments as part of the broader project of understanding analogical reasoning. The chapter further recommends that we start with analogical arguments in science and mathematics, where we find clear and intuitively persuasive examples. Analogical arguments in science aim, in varying degrees, to establish the plausibility of a hypothesis. A distinction is made between a probabilistic notion of plausibility as reasonable credence, and a nonprobabilistic notion of prima facie plausibility, roughly the idea that a hypothesis is worthy of serious investigation. A basic characterization of analogical arguments is provided along with a preview of the theory to be developed in the book.
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