Analogizing Interracial and Same-Sex Marriage

Analogizing Interracial and Same-Sex Marriage

Philosophy and Rhetoric
Volume 48, Number 4, 2015
pages 561-582

Isaac West, Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

“Like race” analogies have been critiqued from various perspectives, and this article enters that conversation to engage those criticisms from a rhetorical perspective. In short, this article makes a case for resisting proscriptive judgments about these analogies until they have been contextualized and afforded their complexity as rhetorical figures. A rhetorical perspective of analogies engages them not as truth statements or as part of propositional logic (a monological view of communication) but instead as invitations to explore similar sets of relationships that are qualified through continued dialogue (a dialogical view of communication). Through a case study of a highly recirculated issue of the Advocate, this essay demonstrates the productive possibilities and limitations of analogical reasoning.

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