Analogy as Structure and Process: Approaches in Linguistics, Cognitive Psychology and Philosophy of Science

The concept of analogy is of central concern to modern cognitive scientists, whereas it has been largely neglected in linguistics in the past four decades. The goal of this thought-provoking book is (1) to introduce a cognitively and linguistically viable notion of analogy; and (2) to re-establish and build on traditional linguistic analogy-based research. As a starting point, a general definition of analogy is offered that makes the distinction between analogy-as-structure and analogy-as-process. Chapter 2 deals with analogy as used in traditional linguistics. It demonstrates how phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and diachronic linguistics make use of analogy and discusses linguistic domains in which analogy does or did not work. The appendix gives a description of a computer program, which performs such instances of analogy-based syntactic analysis as have long been claimed impossible. Chapter 3 supports the ultimate (non-modular) 'unity of the mind' and discusses the existence of pervasive analogies between language and such cognitive domains as vision, music, and logic. The final chapter presents evidence for the view that the cosmology of every culture is based on analogy. At a more abstract level, the role of analogy in scientific change is scrutinized, resulting in a meta-analogy between myth and science.