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analogy,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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analogya 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.
REFERENCESAristotle. 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.)
B. V. BIRIUKOV and A. I. UEMOV