Analogy, Concept and Cognition


  • Kanit (Mitinunwong) Sirichan Chulalongkorn University


analogy, comparative thinking, concept, cognitive content, philosophy of cognitive science


This research paper aims to study analogy as a type of comparative thinking and to investigate whether it is justified to claim that an analogical thought has cognitive content. Two theories in cognitive science claim that an analogy has cognitive content. The first one is called the weak view of analogy in cognition; this is expressed in, for example, the works of Gust et al. (2008), Lakoff & Johnson (1980), Hesse (1966), and Black (1955). The second one is called the strong view of analogy in cognition, seen, for example, in the works of Hofstadter (2001, 2006) and Hofstadter and Sanders (2013). According to the weak view, analogical thought is only a necessary condition of cognition. But in the strong view, analogy is both a necessary and a sufficient condition of cognition. Regardless of the differences, neither theory is justified in claiming analogical content. While the weak view cannot provide an account of the perceptual aspect of content, the strong view suffers from a lack of normative constraint for analogical content.

Author Biography

Kanit (Mitinunwong) Sirichan, Chulalongkorn University

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts



Institute for Innovative learning, Mahidol University สถาบันนวัตกรรมและพัฒนากระบวนการเรียนรู้ มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล. (n.d.). Lakthan lae komun sanap sanun หลักฐานและข้อมูลสนับสนุน [Evidence and supportive information]. Retrieved February, 14, 2016, from

Khotom Areeya โคทม อารียา. (2015). Kan prongdong nai sangkom prachatippatai Thai การปรองดองในสังคมประชาธิปไตยไทย [Reconciliation in Thai Democratic Society]. In Dun amnat nai kan mueang kan pokkrong Thai ดุลอำนาจในการเมืองการปกครองไทย [The balance of power in Thai politics]. King Prajadhipok’s Institute.

Nattapong Hariraksapithak ณัฐพงศ์ หริรักษาพิทักษ์. (1997). Kan sueksa wikro phap upama upamai nai gnan kosana sue singpim การศึกษาวิเคราะห์ภาพอุปมาอุปไมยในงานโฆษณาสื่อสิ่งพิมพ์ [A content analysis of pictorial metaphor in magazine] [Unpublished master thesis]. Chulalongkorn University.

Passama Chareonpong & Nopphorn Chotikamtorn ภัสมะ เจริญพงษ์ และนพพร โชติกกำธร. (2014). Theknoloyi sarasontet phuea sanapsanun kanrian kansorn duai withikan upama upamai เทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศเพื่อสนับสนุนการเรียนการสอนด้วยวิธีการอุปมาอุปไมย [Information technology supporting teaching and learning by the method of analogy]. In Warasarn theknoloyi sarasontet Lardkrabang วารสารเทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศลาดกระบัง [KMTL Information Technology Journal].

Phra Khru Palad Marut Woramongkalo พระครูปลัดมารุต วรมงคโล. (2012). Kan sueksa wikro phuttha chittawitthaya nai Phra Trai pidok การศึกษาวิเคราะห์พุทธจิตวิทยาในพระไตรปิฎก [An analytical study of Buddhist psychology in Tipitaka]. Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University. Retrieved December 20, 2013, from

Ratikorn Jeugwon รติกร เจือกโว้น. (n.d.). Kotmai กฎหมาย [Laws]. Wiki KPI. Retrieved December 10, 2013, fromกฎหมาย#cite_note-27

Royal Institute ราชบัณฑิตยสถาน. (2003). Potchananukrom chabup ratchabandittayasatan por sor song ha si song พจนานุกรมฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน พ.ศ. 2542 [Dictionary of the Royal Institute of Thailand, 2542 B.E. Edition]. Nanmee Books Publications.


Ashworth, E. J., & D’Ettore, D. (1999) Medieval theories of analogy. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from

Barnes, J. (1984). Complete works of Aristotle. Princeton University Press.

Barsalou, L. W. (1993). Challenging assumptions about concepts. Cognitive Development, 8, 169-180.

Black, M. (1955). Metaphors. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 55(1), 273-294.

Brandimonte, M. A., Bruno, N., & Collina, S. (2006). Cognition. In K. Pawlik & G. d’Ydewalle (Eds.), Psychological concepts: An international historical perspective (pp. 11-26). Psychology Press.

Brewer, B. (2006). Perception and content. European Journal of Philosophy, 14(2), 165-181.

Camp, E. (2006). Metaphor in the mind: The cognition of metaphor. Philosophy Compass, 1/2, 154-170.

Chalmers, D. J., French, R. M., & Hofstadter, D. R. (1992). High-level perception, representation, and analogy: A critique of artificial intelligence methodology. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 4(3), 185-211.

Collins, A. & Burstein, M. (1989). Afterword: A framework for a theory of comparison and map- ping. In S. Vosniadou & A. Ortony (Eds.), Similarity and analogical reasoning (pp. 546- 565). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davidson, D. (1978). What metaphors mean. Critical Inquiry, 5(1), 31-47.

Duncker, K. (1945). On problem-solving (L. S. Lees, Trans.). Psychological Monographs, 58(5), i-113.

Falkenhainer, B., Forbus, K. & Gentner, D. (1989). The structure mapping engine: Algorithms and examples. Artificial Intelligence, 41(1), 1-63.

Fodor, J. (1998). Concepts: Where cognitive science went wrong. Oxford University Press.

Forceville, C. (1996). Pictorial metaphor in advertising. Routledge

Frege, G. (1892). On Sinn and Bedeutung. In M. Beaney (Ed.), The Frege reader (pp. 151-171). Blackwell.

Frege, G. (1951). On concept and object (P. T. Geach, Trans.; M. Black, Rev.). Mind, 60(238), 168-180.

Gentner, D. (1983). Structure mapping: A theoretical framework for analogy. Cognitive Science, 7(2), 155-170.

Gentner, D., Bowdle, B., Wolff, P., & Boronat, C. (2001). Metaphor is like analogy. In D. Gentner, K. J. Holyoak, & B. N. Kokinov (Eds), The analogical mind: Perspectives from cognitive science (pp. 199–253). Cambridge University Press.

Gentner, D., Holyoak, K. J., & Kokinov, B. N. (Eds.). (2001). The analogical mind: Perspectives from cognitive science. MIT Press.

Gick, M. L., & Holyoak, K. J. (1980). Analogical problem solving. Cognitive Psychology, 12(3), 306-355.

Govier, T. (2002). Should a priori analogies be regarded as deductive arguments?. Informal Logic, 22(2), 155-157.

Gust, H., Krumnack, U., Kuhnberger, K.-U., & Schwering, A. (2008). Analogical reasoning: A core of cognition. Retrieved January 2, 2018, from

Hesse, M. (1950). Aristotle’s logic of analogy. The Philosophical Quarterly, 15(61), 328-340.

Hofstadter, D. (2001). Epilogue: Analogy as the core of cognition. In D. Gentner, K. J. Holyoak, & B. N. Kokinov, (Eds.), The analogical mind: Perspectives from cognitive science (pp. 499–538). MIT Press.

Hofstadter, D., & Sanders, E. (2013). Surfaces and essences: Analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking. Basic Books.

Holyoak, K. J., & Morrison, B. (Eds.). (2005). The Cambridge handbook of thinking and reasoning. Cambridge University Press.

Holyoak, K. J., & Thagard, P. (1995). Mental leaps: Analogy in creative thought. MIT Press.

Holyoak, K. J., & Thagard, P. (1989). Analogical mapping by constraint satisfaction. Cognitive Science, 13(3), 295-355.

Jones, S. S., & Smith, L. B. (1993). The place of perception in children’s concepts. Cognitive Development, 8(2), 113-139.

Keane, M. T., & Brayshaw, M. (1988). The incremental analogy machine: A computational model of analogy. In D. H. Sleeman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd European conference on European working session on learning (pp. 53-62). Pitman Publishing.

Lakoff, G. (1997). How unconscious metaphorical thought shapes dreams. In D. J. Stein (Ed.), Cognitive science and psychoanalysis (pp. 89-120). American Psychoanalytic Association.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. The University of Chicago Press.

Loyd, G. E. R. (1996). Aristotelian explorations. Cambridge University Press.

Margolis, E., & Laurence, S. (Eds.). (1999). Concepts: Core readings. MIT Press.

Margolis, E., & Laurence, S. (2005). Concepts. In The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from

Mitchell, M. & Hofstadter, D. R. (1995). Perspectives on Copycat: Comparisons with recent work. In Hofstadter, D., Fluid concepts and creative analogies: Computer models of the fundamental mechanisms of thought (pp. 275-300). Basic Books.

Oden, D. L., Thompson, R. K. R., & Premack, D. (2001). Can an ape reason analogically? Comprehension and production of analogical problems by Sarah, a Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). In D. Gentner, K. J. Holyoak, & B. N. Kokinov (Eds.), The Analogical Mind (pp. 471-497). MIT Press.

Prinz, J. (2002). Furnishing the mind: Concepts and their perceptual basis. MIT Press.

Putnam, H. (1975). The meaning of meaning. In Philosophical papers: Mind, language and reality (Vol. 2, pp. 215-271). Cambridge University Press.

Quine, W. V. (1951). Two dogmas of empiricism. Philosophical Review, 60(1), 20-43.

Rosch, E., & Mervis, C. B. (1975). Family resemblances: Studies in the internal structure of categories. Cognitive Psychology, 7(4), 573–605.

Sacksteder, W. (1974). The logic of analogy. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 7(4), 234-252.

Sanders, E. (2013). The central role of analogy in cognitive science: An interview by Francesco Bianchini. Methode – Analytic Perspectives, 2, 2, pp. 21-26.

Slaney, K., & Racine T. P. (2011). On the ambiguity of concept use in psychology: Is the concept “concept” a useful concept?. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 31(2), 73-89.

Sternberg, R. J. (2009). Cognitive psychology (5th ed.). Thomson/Wadsworth.

Turing, A. M. (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 59(236), 433-460.

Thagard, P. (2012). The cognitive science of science: Explanation, discovery, and conceptual change. MIT Press.

Waller, B. N. (2001). Classifying and analyzing analogies. Informal Logic, 21(3), 199-218.

Wittgenstein, L. (2009). Philosophical investigations (P. M. S. Hacker & J. Schulte, Eds.; G. E. M. Anscombe, P. M. S. Hacker, & J. Schulte, Trans.). Wiley.

Witztum, E., van der Hart, O., & Friedman, B. (1988). The use of metaphors in psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1988, 1-11.




How to Cite

(Mitinunwong) Sirichan, K. . (2023). Analogy, Concept and Cognition. Journal of Letters, 52(2), 45–72. Retrieved from



Research Articles