an unrelated comparison

farhad_persona

Banned
Farsi
Let's say I want to make a point about two cars from company A and company B.
I say since company A manufactures better motorcycles, its cars must be better.
You believe that this comparison is not logical.
Would you say "this is an irrelevant comparison"?
Or would you say this is a "far-fetched comparison"?

Which one is better?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    An irrelevant comparison is not the same as a fallacy or false analogy.

    1. An irrelevant answer is one that does not even address the question; an irrelevant comparison would be one that had nothing to do with both articles that are compared.

    2. "since company A manufactures better motorcycles, its cars must be better." is not a comparison. What are you comparing?

    3. "since company A manufactures better motorcycles, its cars must be better." is a categorical syllogism:

    Company A manufactures good motorcycles.
    Company A also manufactures cars.
    Therefore its cars must be good.

    Compare with:
    All dogs like meat.
    My cat likes meat.
    Therefore my cat is a dog.
     
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    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    So, irrelevant comparison does not make sense to you?
    Not really, because it's not clear whether "comparison" means between company A and company B or between cars and motorcycles made by one company.

    I've now seen Paul's post. I think the word "irrelevant" can have a meaning here, because the comparison between company A's and company B's motorcycles is not relevant to a discussion about their cars.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I say since company A manufactures better motorcycles, its cars must be better.
    You believe that this comparison is not logical.
    The second speaker could say, 'There's no comparison between cars and motorcycles'.
    The first speaker could reply, 'Yes, there is. They both require high-precision engineering'.
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The fact remains there is no comparison: a faulty conclusion is being drawn from two premises.

    Had it been, "They make better cars than motorcycles" or "Their cars are not as good as their motorcycles." there would have been a comparison.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    There is a reasonable comparison to be made between the manufacturing processes for the two vehicles.
    Both involve the internal combustion engine, transmission, wheels etc. and both require high precision in operation.

    If you know already that company A produces better motorcycles than company B, because their engineering standards are higher, then it is not unreasonable to expect that they would also be better in making cars.

    Of course, that conclusion does not necessarily follow, but the comparison does offer a basis for expectation.
     

    farhad_persona

    Banned
    Farsi
    Let's forget the example in the first post. Here's another example:

    A government is like a family. It can not spend more than what it can make.

    Here, you have a comparison that does not make sense. A government can print money bills. It can change interest rates on its loan etc.
    So, there is no point in making a comparison between government and family in terms of economic capabilities.

    Does "irrelevant comparison" make sense here?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    That is exactly the comparison which Mrs. Thatcher did make in relation to the government of Britain in the 1980s.
    In her day, the nation's financial position was much healthier than it is now.

    An irrelevant comparison would be one that did not bear on the point at issue.
    It would still be a comparison, but it would not be one that shed light on the question.
     
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    farhad_persona

    Banned
    Farsi
    That is exactly the comparison which Mrs. Thatcher did make in relation to the government of Britain in the 1980s.
    In her day, the nation's financial position was much healthier than it is now.

    An irrelevant comparison would be one that did not bear on the point at issue.
    It would still be a comparison, but it would not be one that shed light on the question.
    Exactly! So it does make sense right?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Exactly! So it does make sense right?
    The statement 'That is an irrelevant comparison' is a perfectly good English sentence.
    The question whether it is true in a particular case is a separate issue.

    People often use comparisons which seem to other people to be irrelevant.
    Any comparison between different things (and there is little point in comparing identical things) must be only a partial comparison.
    This inevitably means there will be room for disagreement about how relevant or irrelevant the comparison is.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    That is a much better sentence and a natural response to your post at #12:

    A: "A government is like a family. It can not spend more than what it can make."
    B: "That's not a valid comparison': a government can print money bills. It can change interest rates on its loans etc."
    A: "It is a valid comparison! Printing money is inflationary and someone has to pay taxes to pay that interest!"
    [A fight breaks out :D]
     

    farhad_persona

    Banned
    Farsi
    That is a much better sentence and a natural response to your post at #12:

    A: "A government is like a family. It can not spend more than what it can make."
    B: "That's not a valid comparison': a government can print money bills. It can change interest rates on its loans etc."
    A: "It is a valid comparison! Printing money is inflationary and someone has to pay taxes to pay that interest!"
    [A fight breaks out :D]
    Thank you Paul.
     
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