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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 49, Issue 1/2, 2021

Inesa Sahakyan
Pages 166-190

Metaphor, induction and innovation
Getting outside the box

Today more than ever innovation seems vital for us to anticipate the future and adapt to our rapidly changing world. But what is innovation and how is it accomplished? How can the mind generate innovative ideas? To gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the human capacity to innovate, the present study aims at answering two basic questions: first, ‘what makes innovation possible?’ and second, ‘why are innovative ideas unusual?’. These questions are addressed within the framework of Peircean semiotics, in particular in the light of Peirce’s conception of inference. Different types of inferences are studied to determine the mode of reasoning which is central to innovative thought. While creativity and innovation are often analysed through the prism of abduction, this study puts forward an alternative approach drawing a parallel between modes of inferences and types of hypoicons. It claims that what makes innovation possible is metaphoric reasoning underlying induction.

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