Typical examples, that is, examples that are representative for a particular situationor concept, play an important role in human knowledge representation and reasoning.In real life situations more often than not, instead of a lengthy abstract characteriza-tion, a typical example is used to describe the situation. This well-known observationhas been the motivation for various investigations in experimental psychology, whichalso motivate our formal characterization of typical examples, based on a partial orderfor their typicality. Reasoning by typical examples is then developed as a special caseof analogical reasoning using the semantic information contained in the correspondingconcept structures. We derive new inference rules by replacing the explicit informa-tion about connections and similarity, which are normally used to formalize analogicalinference rules, by information about the relationship to typical examples. Using theseinference rules analogical reasoning proceeds by checking a related typical example,this is a form of reasoning based on semantic information from cases.
An important research problem is the incorporation of "declarative" knowledge into an automated theorem prover that can be utilized in the search for a proof. An interesting pro-posal in this direction is Alan Bundy's approach of using explicit proof plans that encapsulatethe general form of a proof and is instantiated into a particular proof for the case at hand. Wegive some examples that show how a "declarative" highlevel description of a proof can be usedto find proofs of apparently "similiar" theorems by analogy. This "analogical" information isused to select the appropriate axioms from the database so that the theorem can be proved.This information is also used to adjust some options of a resolution theorem prover. In orderto get a powerful tool it is necessary to develop an epistemologically appropriate language todescribe proofs, for which a large set of examples should be used as a testbed. We presentsome ideas in this direction.