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The Problem of Context for Similarity: An Insight from Analogical Cognition

Institut Jean Nicod, 75005 Paris, France
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Geneva, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 39;
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies on Analogy)
Similarity is central for the definition of concepts in several theories in cognitive psychology. However, similarity encounters several problems which were emphasized by Goodman in 1972. At the end of his article, Goodman banishes similarity from any serious philosophical or scientific investigations. If Goodman is right, theories of concepts based on similarity encounter a huge problem and should be revised entirely. In this paper, we would like to analyze the notion of similarity with some insight from psychological works on analogical cognition. Analogical cognition compares two situations or objects in order to find similarities between them. In doing so, the analogical process sorts the different features of the two situations or objects and determines the most important ones. The analogical process is also highly sensitive to context. Context-sensitivity is desirable at some level, but it is also problematic as it leads to a computational explosion. To answer this problem, we would like to consider salience as a possible heuristic in the analogical process. We will distinguish three forms of salience: Sensory, categorical, and operational. By taking salience into account, we can introduce a shortcut into the computation of similarity and circumvent computational explosion. View Full-Text
Keywords: analogical cognition; similarity; salience; context-sensitivity; concept analogical cognition; similarity; salience; context-sensitivity; concept
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Armary, P.; Dokic, J.; Sander, E. The Problem of Context for Similarity: An Insight from Analogical Cognition. Philosophies 2018, 3, 39.

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