This post is long in coming. It is surprising that analogy has not come up before in over 70 posts. I can certainly recall times when someone convinced me with a clever analogy, and then it turned out to be dead wrong. Nevertheless, we need analogy and we are vulnerable to analogy. It seems to me that we try to turn our love of stories, anecdotal evidence, into analogies sometimes to generally bad results. Keith Holyoak is one of the leaders in trying to understand how humans use analogy. This post and the next two posts will use his work in an article: “Thinking, Broad and Deep” a review of Surfaces and Essences, Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, May 2013, and his chapter in the Oxford Handbook of thinking and reasoning, 2012.
The idea of bidirectional reasoning seems to have really got going by way of a 1999 paper entitled: “Bidirectional Reasoning in Decision Making by Constraint Satisfaction” written by Keith J. Holyoak and Dan Simon that was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1999, Vol 128, No. 1, pages 3-31.