Mental Leaps: Analogy in Creative Thought

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1996 - Psychology - 320 pages
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Analogy -- recalling familiar past situations to deal with novel ones -- is a mentaltool that everyone uses. Analogy can provide invaluable creative insights, but it can also lead todangerous errors. In Mental Leaps two leading cognitive scientists show howanalogy works and how it can be used most effectively. Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard provide aunified, comprehensive account of the diverse operations and applications of analogy, includingproblem solving, decision making, explanation, and communication.

Holyoak andThagard present their own theory of analogy, considering its implications for cognitive science ingeneral, and survey examples from many other domains. These include animal cognition, developmentaland social psychology, political science, philosophy, history of science, anthropology, andliterature.

Understanding how we draw analogies is important for people interestedin the evolution of thinking in animals and in children; for those whose focus is on either creativethinking or errors of everyday reasoning; for those concerned with how decisions are made in law,business, and politics; and for those striving to improve education. Mental Leapscovers all of this ground, emphasizing the principles that govern the use of analogy and keepingtechnical matters to a minimum.

A Bradford Book

  

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Contents

Ripples in the Air
9
Similarity
22
Summary
37
How Thought Evolved
53
Hitting the Wall
67
The Analogical Child
75
Personification
90
The Tumor and the Fortress
110
Intuition Pumps
178
The Analogical Scientist
185
Invention and Design
198
The Web of Culture
211
Laughter and Love
225
The Computational Mind
238
Retrieval
251
Notes
267

Evaluation
131
Houses and Baseball Players
146
Summary
165

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Semantics
John I. Saeed
No preview available - 2003
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About the author (1996)

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.

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