The First World Congress on Analogy took place in Puebla (Mexico),
4-6 November 2015. It was sponsored and organized by the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP) in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM, Poznań, Poland) and the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP, Mexico). This very successful event gathered researchers from all over the world (among others from Mexico, Poland, France, India, Brazil, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Russia, Belgium) and many disciplines (i.e. Philosophy, Logic, Literature, Biology, Political Science, Theology, Arts).
Please find below an excerpt from
The Handbook of The First World Congress On Analogy:
We cry when we do not understand.
We know so many things that we do not understand!
José Ortega y Gasset
If two things are analogous they are different but in some way similar. What kind of similarity is it and what is its value? How analogy can be used to develop knowledge and understanding? These are the sort of questions that will be addressed in the First Congress of Analogy. Well, there is another issue.
Yes, analogies manipulate us, and yes, we are enchained by them. This is a fact that we simply must recognize. Not only are we prisoners of the known and the familiar, but we are serving a life term. But luckily for us, we have the power to enlarge our prison over and over again, indeed without any limits . Only the known can free us from the known. (Hofstadter & Sander 2013: 315)
So the question arises: are we really enslaved by analogies? Or maybe the situation is completely different and the processes of analogy-making should be considered rather to as ways of liberating of human minds and our culture in consequence? At least because the studies on analogy in science, art and philosophy could fall within the general science of love in the sense of José Ortega y Gasset.
The congress wants to promote interdisciplinary investigations, discussions and writings about analogy. It is of interest for all people dealing with analogy in one way or another: philosophers, logicians, mathematicians, biologists, artists, computer scientists, linguists, psychologists, etc.
There are many definition and conception of analogy, but always it is considered as a universal tool that enable us to discover, explore, compare, understand and show similarities and differences/dissimilarities. Formally speaking, analogy can be defined as a relation between relations, and it is connected with proportions and remains pervasive in science, art and religion.
If we agree that inter-cultural, inter-ideological and inter-religious dialogue is now one of crucial issues, the humanistic approach to analogy seems to be of the greatest importance. Hence we have to go back to (Hofstadter & Sander 2013:153) again:
Our natural inclination to relate to stories told by other people by converting them into first-person experiences dredged out of our dormant memories – this propensity to make analogies that link us with other people, or, more generally, to interpret any new situation in terms of another similar situation that comes to mind – is omnipresent, because doing so fulfils a deep psychological need.
But it should be emphasized that Edith Stein contrasts “inferences by analogy” with procedures of the so-called “analogizing”. She wrote in On the Problem of Empathy:
The interpretation of foreign living bodies as of my type helps make sense out of the discussion of “analogizing” in comprehending another. Of course, this analogizing has very little to do with “inferences by analogy”.
(Stein 1989: 59)
Analogy avoids generalization but is universal. It helps saving differences while showing similarities and common characteristics which can be transformed into background of real dialogue. In dialogical situation above all we want to know, explore, understand and compare before taking decisions, judging and acting. Therefore it is without any doubt very fascinating topic and we will reflect on it from the viewpoints of philosophy, logic, sciences, theory of literature, theory of culture and many more. All these interdisciplinary investigations, exchanges and perspectives are very promising.
Hofstadter, D., Sander, E. (2013). Surfaces and Essences. Analogy as The Fuel and Fire of Thinking.
New York: Basic Books.
Ortega y Gasset, J. (1963). Meditations on Quixote. New York: W.W. Norton.
Stein, E. (1989). On the Problem of Empathy. Translated by W. Stein. Washington: ICS Publications.
Full text of the Handbook available here
The selected papers from the First World Congress on Analogy are available online: