Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy of Science: Reasoning by Analogy in Theory Construction

This paper examines the hypothesis that analogies may play a role in the generation of new ideas that are built into new explanatory theories. Methods of theory construction by analogy, by failed analogy, and by modular components from several analogies are discussed. Two different analyses of analogy are contrasted: direct mapping (Mary Hesse) and shared abstraction (Michael Genesereth). The structure of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection shows various analogical relations. Finally, an "abstraction for selection theories" is shown to be the structure of a number of theories.
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P. Thagard (1993). Societies of Minds: Science as Distributed Computing. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (1):49-67.
L. Darden (1996). Generalizations in Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (3):409-419.

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