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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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
A third conclusion relates to the generalization of the vocalic-plural (graphemically represented as <-o>, <-a>, and still <-u>, in nouns of Groups 1, 2, and 4), the specific key to which was the lowering of inflectional -u to /-o/ and /-a/, even if this generalization took over where the analogical processes just discussed left off.
The forms or natures denominated by the analogical terms are perfectly conceived as distinct from one another.
proceeds out of time by a kind of extraordinary structural logic." (39) From this starting point, he develops a critique of three different types of imagination, modelled on the Aristotelian distinctions between the univocal, equivocal, and analogical. The incarnational or Christic imagination is "analogical," standing between and opposed both to the univocal and equivocal imaginations, the former inclined "to reduce everything, like and unlike, to a flat community of sameness," (40) the latter opting "always for difference alone" ungoverned by a unifying principle of life.
The basis of the analysis was data on mothers' verbal scaffolding of analogical and metacognitive thinking during pretend play interactions with their very young children.
Another study compared analogical reasoning skills of children who were deaf or hard of hearing in two age groups (9-10 and 12-13 years old) and communication methods in the family (deaf parents and normal hearing parents) [14].
The aim of this article is to provide the first evidence to suggest that a behavior analytic model of analogical reasoning and competing stimulus control can predict, at least to some extent, the observing behavior of participants taking an intelligence test based on visual analogies.
These two relatively new approaches to legal analysis that Unger terms 'retro doctrinalism' and 'shrunken Benthamism', together with reasoned elaboration and analogical reasoning complete Unger's schematic representation of the 'messy and confused' analytic practice of law today.
The horizontal (known) similarities mentioned in the table above illustrate positive analogies, and the observational similarities could be seen as a neutral analogy in a sense that this similarity was neither assumed nor expected in the analogical association of the two domains.
(3) Analogical comparison, especially within-domain comparison, can happen unconsciously.
Analogical reasoning also is used by scientists to find new solutions for unpredicted issues in their research (Dunbar & Blanchette, 2001).
the "outworn creed" of analogical thought, as well as the