Publication details [#5969]

Hoffman, Robert R., Tom Eskridge and Cameron Shelley. 2009. A naturalistic exploration of forms and functions of analogizing. Metaphor and Symbol 24 (3) : 125–154. 30 pp.
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The purpose of this article is to invigorate debate concerning the nature of analogy, and to broaden the scope of current conceptions of analogy. We argue that analogizing is not a single or even a fundamental cognitive process. The argument relies on an analysis of the history of the concept of analogy, case studies on the use of analogy in scientific problem solving, cognitive research on analogy comprehension and problem solving, and a survey of computational mechanisms of analogy comprehension. Analogizing is regarded as a macrocognitive phenomenon having a number of supporting processes. These include the apperception of resemblances and distinctions, metaphor, and the balancing of semantic flexibility and inference constraint. Psychological theories and computational models have generally relied on (a) a sparse set of ontological concepts (a property called "similarity" and a structuralist categorization of types of semantic relations), (b) a single form category (i.e., the classic four-term analogy), and (c) a single set of morphological distinctions (e.g., verbal vs. pictorial analogies). This article presents a classification based on a "naturalistic" exploration of the variety of uses of analogical reasoning in pragmatically distinct contexts. The resultant taxonomy distinguishes pre-hoc, ad-hoc, post-hoc, pro-hoc, contra-hoc, and trans-hoc analogy. Each will require its own macrocognitive modeling, and each presents an opportunity for research on phenomena of reasoning that have been neglected. (Robert Hoffman, Tom Eskridge and Cameron Shelley)