"At once a contribution to the continuing scholarly debate on the
nature of analogy and an accessible interdisciplinary overview for the
general reader of this central process of thinking and
-- David Lorimer, Times Higher Education
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.
Holyoak and Thagard present their own theory of analogy, considering
its implications for cognitive science in general, and survey
examples from many other domains. These include animal cognition,
developmental and social psychology, political science, philosophy,
history of science, anthropology, and literature.
Understanding how we draw analogies is important for people interested
in the evolution of thinking in animals and in children; for those
whose focus is on either creative thinking 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 Leaps covers all of this ground, emphasizing the
principles that govern the use of analogy and keeping technical
matters to a minimum.