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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 ?
This study explored the potential for maternal scaffolding of children's analogical and metacognitive thinking during play.
Second, the strength of the structure-mapping model is its ability to explain the differences of analogical reasoning between novices and experts (Gentner, 1983).
Anselm's dictum--"something beyond which nothing greater can be conceived"--qualifies analogical speaking about God by respecting God's dissimilar discourse, which may speak to the world of faith through religious outsiders.
Naturally, an extremely positivistic attitude could not accept but a constative language, but a less radical positivistic attitude, a more moderate one, could accept at least the analogical onlooks, even if it rejects the parabolic ones (24).
This falls directly out of our computational model of analogical matching below.
They (2004) argued that analogical reasoning is a measure of g, the general intelligence factor.
tracking how the analogical argument from design did not, in fact,
Suggesting how the analogical in Milton connects the known to the unknown, Anderson writes, "Analogy connects cognition with rhetoric, God's creation with the poet's, and both of these with darkness and light" (225).
While I appreciate his anti-reductionist approach, allowing for the complexity and diversity of the created world, I do not find the analogical approach particularly convincing.
the analogical dictionary prefigures the analogical system by virtue of its organization around a word that "marks the common idea associated to all the words that refer to it".
Here the analogical method is more persuasive, since it proceeds in a manner that is itself distinctly literary.