Thanks – of course, that wasn’t the reference I was thinking of but I hadn’t heard Hofstadter talk before. Good stuff – he’s pretty entertaining, as one might expect.
For those who are interested, he defines analogy as “the perception of common essence between two things” and outlines a model where we are constantly testing (at a fundamental level) our experiences for analogous ones. I think he might be arguing that all concepts (and categories) are analogies at a fundamental level, but he doesn’t go into that. Also he seems to focus mostly on language as a reflection of experience.
It’s particularly interesting in light of the way that editing (or writing) can build meaning out of experience.
Favourite line (slightly paraphrased): “Analogies just happen; they serve no purpose.”
Hofstadter on stage at 13mins ish.