Analogy Just Looks Like High Level Perception: Why a Domain-General Approach to Analogical Mapping is Right
NORTHWESTERN UNIV EVANSTON IL INST FOR THE LEARNING SCIENCES
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Hofstadter and his colleagues have criticized current accounts of analogy, claiming that such accounts do not accurately capture interactions between processes of representation construction and processes of mapping. They suggest instead that analogy should be viewed as a form of high level perception that encompasses both representation building and mapping as indivisible operations within a single model. They argue specifically against SME, our model of analogical matching, on the grounds that it is modular, and offer instead programs like Mitchell Hofstaders Copycat as examples of the high level perception approach. In this paper we argue against this position on two grounds. First, we demonstrate that most of their specific arguments involving SME and Copycat are incorrect. Second, we argue that the claim that analogy is high-level perception, while in some ways an attractive metaphor, is too vague to be useful as a technical proposal. We focus on five issues 1 how perception relates to analogy, 2 how flexibility arises in analogical processing, 3 whether analogy is a domain-general process, 4 how should micro-worlds be used in the study of analogy, and 5 how best to assess the psychological plausibility of a model of analogy. We illustrate our discussion with examples taken from computer models embodying both views.