Analogy—recalling familiar past situations to deal with novel ones—is a mental tool that everyone uses. Analogy can provide invaluable creative insights, but it can also lead to dangerous errors. In Mental Leaps two leading cognitive scientists show how analogy works and how it can be used most effectively. Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard provide a unified, comprehensive account of the diverse operations and applications of analogy, including problem solving, decision making, explanation, and communication.
Two psychologists, a computer scientist, and a philosopher have collaborated to present a framework for understanding processes of inductive reasoning and learning in organisms and machines. Theirs is the first major effort to bring the ideas of several disciplines to bear on a subject that has been a topic of investigation since the time of Socrates. The result is an integrated account that treats problem solving and induction in terms of rulebased mental models.
Analogy has been the focus of extensive research in cognitive science over the past two decades. Through analogy, novel situations and problems can be understood in terms of familiar ones. Indeed, a case can be made for analogical processing as the very core of cognition. This is the first book to span the full range of disciplines concerned with analogy. Its contributors represent cognitive, developmental, and comparative psychology; neuroscience; artificial intelligence; linguistics; and philosophy.