Skip to main content



  Chapter 22: MAKING RATIONAL DECISIONS  •     Making rational decisions involves using a logical and systematic approach to evaluate options and choose the best course of action. •     Good decisions are crucial to a successful and fulfilling life. It is true that many decisions can be made quickly without much thought. But if we are not careful, hasty decisions about careers, relationships, or investments can ruin our life. •     Many people make decisions based on feelings. “ I knew I wanted to marry her the moment we met. ”  •     But sometimes our feelings are mixed and inconsistent and affected by biases and irrelevant factors. For important decisions, we need a better system. This is not to say we should ignore our emotions. It would be unwise (and sad) to marry someone without regard for feelings. But emotions and feelings should not be the only basis for making important decisions. •     So what makes a good decision?  Some people think a decision must have been well made if i

Chapter 21: Analogical Reasoning

  Chapter 21: Analogical Reasoning •     In an analogy, we compare one thing with another. We might describe a person as being like a fox, a prickly rose, a robot, or a hurricane. Love is said to be a disease, a game, a drug, a heatwave, and “a smoke made with the fume of sighs” (Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet). Less poetically, a physicist might compare an atom to the solar system—electrons revolve around a nucleus at the centre as planets go around the sun.  •     In this section, we focus on the use of analogy in explanation and argument (literary theory distinguishes between metaphors, similes and allegories. They are all based on resemblances, and we treat them all as analogies here). The first point to note is that words such as  similar  and  like  have incomplete meanings. Saying that two things are similar has a concrete meaning only with respect to some standard of comparison. Pick any two objects, and they are bound to be similar in some way.  A washing machine is like a