Measures of Similarity

Theoria 86 (1):73-99 (2020)
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Abstract

This article analyses the relationship between the concept of single aspect similarity and proposed measures of similarity. More precisely, it compares eleven measures of similarity in terms of how well they satisfy a list of desiderata, chosen to capture common intuitions concerning the properties of similarity and the relations between similarity and dissimilarity. Three types of measures are discussed: similarity as commonality, similarity as a function of dissimilarity, and similarity as a joint function of commonality and difference. Relative to the desiderata, it is found that a measure of the second type fares the best. However, rather than recommend this measure alone as a measure of similarity, it is suggested that there are at least three separate concepts of single aspect similarity, corresponding to the three types of measures. In light of this proposal, three of the eleven measures (and variants of these) are deemed acceptable.

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Karin Enflo
Umeå University

Citations of this work

Does Everything Resemble Everything Else to the Same Degree?Ben Blumson - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1-21.

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References found in this work

Features of Similarity.Amos Tversky - 1977 - Psychological Review 84 (4):327-352.
The Metaphysics of Properties.Alex Oliver - 1996 - Mind 105 (417):1-80.
An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 18 (2):233-233.
Appearance and Reality.F. H. Bradley - 1893 - International Journal of Ethics 4 (2):246-252.

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