Abduction and metaphor: An inquiry into common cognitive mechanism

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11466-011-0151-5

Cite this article as:
Xu, C. & Li, H. Front. Philos. China (2011) 6: 480. doi:10.1007/s11466-011-0151-5


Abduction and metaphor are two significant concepts in cognitive science. It is found that the both mental processes are on the basis of certain similarity. The similarity inspires us to seek the answers to the following two questions: (1) Whether there is a common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor? And (2) if there is, whether this common mechanism could be interpreted within the unified frame of modern intelligence theory? Centering on these two issues, the paper attempts to characterize and interpret the generation and evolution of scientific metaphors from the perspective of the cognitive mechanism of abductive inference. Then it interprets the common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor within Hawkins’ frame of intelligence theory. The commonality between abduction and metaphor indicates the potential to further explore human intelligence.


abduction metaphor common cognitive mechanism memory-prediction 

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Language and CognitionZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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