What is the difference between analogy and first-principles? - Deepstash
The Halloween Collection

Learn more about problemsolving with this collection

Navigating and enjoying the thrill of horror and scare experiences

Historical knowledge of Halloween and its origins

Understanding and appreciating Halloween traditions worldwide

The Halloween Collection

Discover 64 similar ideas in

It takes just

10 mins to read

What is the difference between analogy and first-principles?

The difference between reasoning by first principles and reasoning by analogy is like the difference between being a chef and being a cook. If the cook lost the recipe, he’d be screwed. The chef, on the other hand, understands the flavor profiles and combinations at such a fundamental level that he doesn’t even use a recipe. He has real knowledge as opposed to know-how.


750 reads


What is first-principles thinking?

First-principles thinking is one of the best ways to reverse-engineer complicated problems and unleash creative possibilities. Sometimes called “reasoning from first principles”.

The idea is to break down complicated problems into basic elements an...


1.14K reads

An analogy with trees

It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e., the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.


736 reads

How are we used to learning?

So much of what we believe is based on some authority figure telling us that something is true.

This way of learning applies to schools, where most teachers try to transfer knowledge to us through a mechanical process that doesn't involve reasoning which le...


713 reads

We tend to reason by analogy

How many times did we hear the phrase "We’ll do that because it’s always been done that way"? Personally, I would say many times.

When we reason by analogy we build our "reasoning" on top of impure assumptions and conventions. We tend to do this si...


862 reads

I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!



790 reads




Software engineer by 🌞 and sleepyhead by 🌑. Software architecture. Distributed systems. Personal productivity. Cats.

I have always been against reasoning by analogy and this article explains very clearly why that way of reasoning is fundamentally broken.

Related collections

More like this

Know the difference between leading and doing

Know the difference between leading and doing

Great leaders know the difference between leading and doing.

If a leader gets stuck in the process of 'doing' -- letting their ability rest on being the most effective person for that job instead of clustering more than qualified people for the technical skill -- then ...

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.


I agree to receive email updates