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Surfaces and Essences by Emmanuel Sander, Douglas Hofstadter

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CHAPTER 7

Naïve Analogies

Three Anecdotes

            Timothy is watching his father shave one morning. He observes his father moistening his face, spreading some shaving cream across it, using the blade, and rinsing. From his four-year-old vantage point, Timothy categorizes the scene as best he can. The idea that a razor, so different in appearance from a pair of scissors or a knife, might be able to cut something does not cross his mind. On the other hand, Timothy knows very well that certain substances dissolve in other substances, such as sugar in hot water. He is therefore absolutely convinced that the shaving cream dissolves his father’s ...

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