Thinking is sometimes deductive, sometimes inductive, and sometimes analogical. Deductive thinking has the character of formal logical representations and derivations; inductive thinking looks to the accumulated balance of positive and negative instances; analogical thinking seeks correspondences between the features of two sets of concepts or objects. Analogical thought can serve the purpose of setting forth an explanation by the correspondence of elements in known situations with those in fully understood situations. Scientific discovery processes are often aided by analogical thought. In political, economic, and intellectual movements, analogies are widely used in argumentation and persuasion. Analogies in the form of expressive metaphors and similes are prevalent in classical literature and everyday language.
A theory of analogical thinking and a computational model of the theory has been developed by Holyoak and Thagard ( 1989). Their interesting research will be described, and the implications of their theory and model will be discussed in a commentary section.
The general logic of analogical mapping requires a set of criteria or constraints that delimit the essential correspondences or similitudes