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in biology, the similarities in function, but differences in evolutionary origin, of body structures in different organisms. For example, the wing of a bird is analogous to the wing of an insect, since both are used for flight. However, there is no common ancestral origin in the evolution of these structures: While the wings of birds are modified skeletal forelimbs, insect wings are extensions of the body wall. Although insects and birds do have a very remote common ancestry (more than 600 million years ago), the wings of the two groups evolved after their ancestries had separated. See also homologyhomology
, in biology, the correspondence between structures of different species that is attributable to their evolutionary descent from a common ancestor. For example, the forelimbs of vertebrates, such as the wing of bird or bat, and the foreleg of an amphibian, are
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a comparison made to show a degree of similarity, but not an exact identity, between phenomena. In sociology, analogies are often made between social phenomena and mechanical or organic phenomena. This can be seen in classical forms of sociological functionalism in which societies are often seen as ‘machine-like’ or, more usually, ‘organism-like’ entities whose parts interrelate and reinforce each other. Although sometimes useful, and perhaps even indispensable in any science, recourse to analogies is often suspect. Assumptions made or relationships imputed (e.g. ‘social needs’ analogous with ‘animal needs’) require separate justification. The use of analogies therefore always involves risks. See MODEL.



a similarity in some respects between objects, phenomena, processes, and so forth. In conclusions drawn by analogy, knowledge gained from the examination of a certain object, known as “the model” is transferred to another object which is less well studied in certain aspects—less accessible to experiment, less discernible, and so forth. In relation to concrete objects, conclusions drawn by analogy are, generally speaking, only probabilistic; they are one of the sources of scientific hypotheses and inductive reasoning and play an important role in scientific discoveries. If, on the other hand, the inferences drawn by analogy relate to abstract objects, then under certain conditions (in particular, with the establishment of isomorphic or homomorphic relations between them) they are capable of yielding determinate conclusions.


Aristotle. Analitiki pervaia i vtoraia. Moscow, 1952.
Asmus, V. F. Logika. Moscow, 1947.
Mill, J. S. Sistema logiki sillogicheskoi i induktivnoi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1914. (Translated from English.)
Polya, G. Matematika i pravdopodobnye rassuzhdeniia. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Uemov, A. I. “Osnovnye formy i pravila vyvodov po analogii.” In Problemy logiki nauchnogo Poznaniia. Moscow, 1964.
Venikov, V. A. Teoriia podobiia i modelirovanie primeniteVno k zadacham elektroenergetiki. Moscow, 1966.
Corafas, D. N. Sistemy imoderlirovanie. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)



1. Biology the relationship between analogous organs or parts
2. Logic maths a form of reasoning in which a similarity between two or more things is inferred from a known similarity between them in other respects
References in periodicals archive ?
As Joseph Blocher has observed, analogical reasoning involves marked difficulty when it comes to the Second Amendment, since there is no agreement on a methodology for determining which similarities between contemporary and framing-era regulations should be regarded as relevant.
1998) were correct in their conclusion that pattern instruction improved analogical reasoning and understanding the relation between symbols, the children would have been better able to profit from their classroom teacher's delivery of the school system's mathematics curriculum.
The Seventh Amendment has forced the Court to address second-order questions about the use of analogical reasoning itself.
Gentner applies the analogical reasoning theory to what she calls spontaneous learning, which is a natural learning process performed by people faced with an unfamiliar domain without the assistance of outside guidance.
505/1111), also a Shafi'i Ash'ari, largely hewed toward formal rationality and sought to constrain the scope of maslaha by tying it to the technicalities of analogical reasoning, yet his work opened the way for a more substantive approach in later generations.
However, the main aim of Bartha's investigation diverts from the currently dominating focus on the cognitive process of analogical reasoning.
Metaphor and analogical reasoning in organization theory: beyond orthodoxy'.
Second she must explain how this middle ground can support analogical reasoning and ground genuine understanding despite the lack of univocality.
Traditional measures of giftedness, such as standardized IQ tests, draw directly on analogical reasoning (Fagan, 1984; Holyoak et al.
Second, the strength of the structure-mapping model is its ability to explain the differences of analogical reasoning between novices and experts (Gentner, 1983).
2000], problem decomposition, and analogical reasoning.
Mental models have been used to explain performance in a variety of areas such as language comprehension (MacWhinney, 2008), analogical reasoning (Gentner, 2002), and deductive reasoning (Johnson-Laird, 2005).