The Access Paradox in Analogical Reasoning and Transfer: Whither Invariance?

Robert E. Haskell

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/ths.2008.009

Abstract


Despite the burgeoning research in recent years on what is called analogical reasoning and transfer, the problem of how invariant or similarity relations are fundamentally accessed is typically either unrecognized, or ignored in computational cognitive science and artificial intelligence. This problematic is not a new one, being outlined by the epistemological learning paradox found in Plato’s Meno. In order to understand the analogical-access problematic, it is suggested that the concept of analogical reasoning needs to be reconceptualized as a subset of a higher order domain including the lexical concept metaphor, isomorphic relation in mathematics, the concept of homology in biology, stimulus generalization in psychology, transfer of learning in education, and transposition phenomena in perception, as all share the problem of how invariance relations are generated and accessed. A solution is suggested based on two specific evolutionary and neurological models, coupled with findings regarding the cognitive importance of knowledge-base. The paper constitutes a reciprocal complementarity theory to a previous paper on metaphor, suggesting the neurological origins and a recon¬ceptualization of what are commonly called analogical and metaphorical reasoning. The paper also introduces a higher order form of analogical reasoning called analogical progression. Implications for research on analogical reasoning are discussed indicating the need for a paradigm shift in analogical reasoning research. The paper concludes with a four-stage model of analogical access.

Keywords


analogy; reasoning; transfer; access problem; computational approach; computational apprach critique

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References


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