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Abductive Inference: Computation, Philosophy, Technology

Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press (1994)

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  1. La Fundamentación Filosófica de los Principios No-Empíricos de Investigación.Sergio H. Menna - 2004 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 8 (1):55-83.
    Non-empirical principles have always been a subject of interest of philoso-phers. Authors from different times and traditions agree that principles such as analogy or simplicity are present in the scientific practice. The disagreement comes out when these authors affirm that these principles have an epistemic function, and when they try to present reasons in order to found this state-ment. The first goal of this paper is to describe these principles and to point out their methodological importance. The second goal is (...)
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  • Peirce Knew Why Abduction Isn’t IBE—A Scheme and Critical Questions for Abductive Argument.Shiyang Yu & Frank Zenker - 2017 - Argumentation 32 (4):569-587.
    Whether abduction is treated as an argument or as an inference, the mainstream view presupposes a tight connection between abduction and inference to the best explanation. This paper critically evaluates this link and supports a narrower view on abduction. Our main thesis is that merely the hypothesis-generative aspect, but not the evaluative aspect, is properly abductive in the sense introduced by C. S. Peirce. We show why equating abduction with IBE unnecessarily complicates argument evaluation by levelling the status of abduction (...)
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  • Abduction and metaphor: An inquiry into common cognitive mechanism. [REVIEW]Cihua Xu & Hengwei Li - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):480-491.
    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 (...)
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  • Teleological Justification of Argumentation Schemes.Douglas Walton & Giovanni Sartor - 2013 - Argumentation 27 (2):111-142.
    Argumentation schemes are forms of reasoning that are fallible but correctable within a self-correcting framework. Their use provides a basis for taking rational action or for reasonably accepting a conclusion as a tentative hypothesis, but they are not deductively valid. We argue that teleological reasoning can provide the basis for justifying the use of argument schemes both in monological and dialogical reasoning. We consider how such a teleological justification, besides being inspired by the aim of directing a bounded cognizer to (...)
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  • Plausible Argumentation in Eikotic Arguments: The Ancient Weak Versus Strong Man Example.Douglas Walton - 2019 - Argumentation 33 (1):45-74.
    In this paper it is shown how plausible reasoning of the kind illustrated in the ancient Greek example of the weak and strong man can be analyzed and evaluated using a procedure in which the pro evidence is weighed against the con evidence using formal, computational argumentation tools. It is shown by means of this famous example how plausible reasoning is based on an audience’s recognition of situations of a type they are familiar with as normal and comprehensible in their (...)
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  • Argumentation Schemes and Enthymemes.D. Walton & C. A. Reed - 2005 - Synthese 145 (3):339-370.
    The aim of this investigation is to explore the role of argumentation schemes in enthymeme reconstruction. This aim is pursued by studying selected cases of incomplete arguments in natural language discourse to see what the requirements are for filling in the unstated premises and conclusions in some systematic and useful way. Some of these cases are best handled using deductive tools, while others respond best to an analysis based on defeasible argumentations schemes. The approach is also shown to work reasonably (...)
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  • Are Some Modus Ponens Arguments Deductively Invalid?Douglas Walton - 2001 - Informal Logic 22 (1).
    This article concerns the structure of defeasible arguments like: 'If Bob has red spots, Bob has the measles; Bob has red spots; therefore Bob has the measles.' The issue is whether such arguments have the form of modus ponens or not. Either way there is a problem. If they don't have the form of modus ponens, the common opinion to the contrary taught in leading logic textbooks is wrong. But if they do have the form of modus ponens, doubts are (...)
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  • An argumentation model of forensic evidence in fine art attribution.Douglas Walton - 2013 - AI and Society 28 (4):509-530.
    In this paper, a case study is conducted to test the capability of the Carneades Argumentation System to model the argumentation in a case where forensic evidence was collected in an investigation triggered by a conflict among art experts on the attribution of a painting to Leonardo da Vinci. A claim that a portrait of a young woman in a Renaissance dress could be attributed to da Vinci was initially dismissed by art experts. Forensic investigations were carried out, and evidence (...)
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  • Explaining disease: Correlations, causes, and mechanisms. [REVIEW]Paul Thagard - 1998 - Minds and Machines 8 (1):61-78.
    Why do people get sick? I argue that a disease explanation is best thought of as causal network instantiation, where a causal network describes the interrelations among multiple factors, and instantiation consists of observational or hypothetical assignment of factors to the patient whose disease is being explained. This paper first discusses inference from correlation to causation, integrating recent psychological discussions of causal reasoning with epidemiological approaches to understanding disease causation, particularly concerning ulcers and lung cancer. It then shows how causal (...)
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  • Perception as abduction: Turning sensor data into meaningful representation.Murray Shanahan - 2005 - Cognitive Science 29 (1):103-134.
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  • Is it justifiable to abandon all search for a logic of discovery?Mehul Shah - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):253 – 269.
    In his influential paper, 'Why Was the Logic of Discovery Abandoned?', Laudan contends that there has been no philosophical rationale for a logic of discovery since the emergence of consequentialism in the 19th century. It is the purpose of this paper to show that consequentialism does not involve the rejection of all types of logic of discovery. Laudan goes too far in his interpretation of the historical shift from generativism to consequentialism, and his claim that the context of pursuit belongs (...)
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  • Patterns of abduction.Gerhard Schurz - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):201-234.
    This article describes abductions as special patterns of inference to the best explanation whose structure determines a particularly promising abductive conjecture and thus serves as an abductive search strategy. A classification of different patterns of abduction is provided which intends to be as complete as possible. An important distinction is that between selective abductions, which choose an optimal candidate from given multitude of possible explanations, and creative abductions, which introduce new theoretical models or concepts. While selective abduction has dominated the (...)
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  • Explanations in science and the logic of why-questions: Discussion of the halonen–hintikka-approachand alternative proposal.Gerhard Schurz - 2005 - Synthese 143 (1-2):149 - 178.
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  • Reasoning with conditionals.Guy Politzer - 2007 - Topoi 26 (1):79-95.
    This paper reviews the psychological investigation of reasoning with conditionals, putting an emphasis on recent work. In the first part, a few methodological remarks are presented. In the second part, the main theories of deductive reasoning (mental rules, mental models, and the probabilistic approach) are considered in turn; their content is summarised and the semantics they assume for if and the way they explain formal conditional reasoning are discussed, in particular in the light of experimental work on the probability of (...)
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  • Understanding Natural Science Based on Abductive Inference: Continental Drift.Jun-Young Oh - 2014 - Foundations of Science 19 (2):153-174.
    This study aims to understand scientific inference for the evolutionary procedure of Continental Drift based on abductive inference, which is important for creative inference and scientific discovery during problem solving. We present the following two research problems: (1) we suggest a scientific inference procedure as well as various strategies and a criterion for choosing hypotheses over other competing or previous hypotheses; aspects of this procedure include puzzling observation, abduction, retroduction, updating, deduction, induction, and recycle; and (2) we analyze the “theory (...)
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  • Abduction or the Logic of Surprise.Jaime Nubiola - 2005 - Semiotica 2005 (153 - 1/4):117-130.
    Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914) made relevant contributions to deductive logic, but he was primarily interested in the logic of science, and more especially in what he called 'abduction' (as opposed to deduction and induction), which is the process whereby hypotheses are generated in order to explain the surprising facts. Indeed, Peirce considered abduction to be at the heart not only of scientific research, but of all ordinary human activities. Nevertheless, in spite of Peirce's work and writings in the field of (...)
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  • Sign machines in the framework of Semiotics Unbounded.Winfried Nöth - 2008 - Semiotica 2008 (169):319-341.
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  • Concept of Evidence and the Quality of Evidence-Based Reasoning in Elementary Students.Andrea Miralda-Banda, Merce Garcia-Mila & Mark Felton - 2021 - Topoi 40 (2):359-372.
    The present study has two goals: to explore elementary students’ understanding of evidence and the ways they deploy it to construct arguments, and to examine whether eliciting their concept of evidence during argumentation improves students’ evidence-based reasoning. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 4th and 6th graders in a public school in Mexico. We found significant differences between groups regarding the concept of evidence, with better performance in the older group. A positive correlation between the concept of evidence and the (...)
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  • On the prospects of a semiotic theory of learning.Torjus Midtgarden - 2005 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (2):239–252.
    Taking as its exegetic point of departure Peirce's outline of a semiotic theory of cognition from the mid 1890s, this paper explores the relevance of this outline to a theory of learning and also to a broader, normative vision of education. Firstly, besides providing for fallibilism in philosophical inquiry Peirce's outline accords with critical strategies of his fellow pragmatists, such as William James's detection of the ‘psychologist's fallacy’ and John Dewey's rejection of the ‘philosophical fallacy’. It is pointed out that (...)
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  • On The Prospects of A Semiotic Theory of Learning.Torjus Midtgarden - 2005 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (2):239-252.
    Taking as its exegetic point of departure Peirce's outline of a semiotic theory of cognition from the mid 1890s, this paper explores the relevance of this outline to a theory of learning and also to a broader, normative vision of education. Firstly, besides providing for fallibilism in philosophical inquiry Peirce's outline accords with critical strategies of his fellow pragmatists, such as William James's detection of the ‘psychologist's fallacy’ and John Dewey's rejection of the ‘philosophical fallacy’. It is pointed out that (...)
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  • Explanation and the Nature of Scientific Knowledge.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Science & Education 24 (7-8):827-854.
    Explaining phenomena is a primary goal of science. Consequently, it is unsurprising that gaining a proper understanding of the nature of explanation is an important goal of science education. In order to properly understand explanation, however, it is not enough to simply consider theories of the nature of explanation. Properly understanding explanation requires grasping the relation between explanation and understanding, as well as how explanations can lead to scientific knowledge. This article examines the nature of explanation, its relation to understanding, (...)
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  • Inference to the best explanation, coherence and other explanatory virtues.Adolfas Mackonis - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):975-995.
    This article generalizes the explanationist account of inference to the best explanation. It draws a clear distinction between IBE and abduction and presents abduction as the first step of IBE. The second step amounts to the evaluation of explanatory power, which consist in the degree of explanatory virtues that a hypothesis exhibits. Moreover, even though coherence is the most often cited explanatory virtue, on pain of circularity, it should not be treated as one of the explanatory virtues. Rather, coherence should (...)
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  • Classifying the patterns of natural arguments.Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton - 2015 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 48 (1): 26-53.
    The representation and classification of the structure of natural arguments has been one of the most important aspects of Aristotelian and medieval dialectical and rhetorical theories. This traditional approach is represented nowadays in models of argumentation schemes. The purpose of this article is to show how arguments are characterized by a complex combination of two levels of abstraction, namely, semantic relations and types of reasoning, and to provide an effective and comprehensive classification system for this matrix of semantic and quasilogical (...)
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  • Cheating neuropsychologists: A study of cognitive processes involved in scientific anomalies resolution.Luca Pezzullo - 2002 - Mind and Society 3 (1):43-50.
    This research was carried out to explore some of the cognitive processes involved in scientific anomalies resolution. 40 subjects with a good neuropsychology expertise were asked to explain two (invented) anomalous neuropsychological cases. The subjects' efforts to give a meaningful structure to the data were recorded, and the resulting reasoning blocks were analysed to extract and compute the inferential (deductive, inductive and abductive) and analogical processes used. The processes were intercorrelated to experimentally verify the co-occurrence of different forms of logical (...)
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  • Naturalism and Wonder: Peirce on the Logic of Hume's Argument Against Miracles.Catherine Legg - 2001 - Philosophia 28 (1-4):297-318.
    Peirce wrote that Hume’s argument against miracles (which is generally liked by twentieth century philosophers for its antireligious conclusion) "completely misunderstood the true nature of" ’abduction’. This paper argues that if Hume’s argumentative strategy were seriously used in all situations (not just those in which we seek to "banish superstition"), it would deliver a choking epistemological conservatism. It suggests that some morals for contemporary naturalistic philosophy may be drawn from Peirce’s argument against Hume.
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  • Responsible Practices in the Wild: An Actor-Network Perspective on Mobile Apps in Learning as Translation(s).Oliver Laasch, Dirk C. Moosmayer & Frithjof Arp - 2020 - Journal of Business Ethics 161 (2):253-277.
    Competence to enact responsible practices, such as recycling waste or boycotting irresponsible companies, is core to learning for responsibility. We explore the role of apps in learning such responsible practices ‘in the wild,’ outside formal educational environments over a 3-week period. Learners maintained a daily diary in which they reflected on their learning of responsible practices with apps. Through a thematic analysis of 557 app mentions in the diaries, we identified five types of app-agency: cognitive, action, interpersonal, personal development, and (...)
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  • The Relation of Story Structure to a Model of Conceptual Change in Science Learning.Stephen Klassen - 2010 - Science & Education 19 (3):305-317.
  • A syllogism for formulating hypotheses.Jungsub Kim & Donald J. Cunningham - 2003 - Semiotica 2003 (144).
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  • The Influence of Anomalous Data on Solving Human Abductive Tasks.Andreas Keinarh & Josef F. Krems - 1998 - Philosophica 61 (1).
    This paper describes an abductive process model of anomalous data integration. The model makes use of the entrenchment of the current explanation and the probability of alternative explanations. It is hypothesised that increasing confirmation of the anom-aly itself increases the probability of alternative explanations. In an experimental study we found that both the entrenchment of an existing explanation and confirmation of the anomaly clearly influence how people resolve anomalous data. These results are in agreement with the predic-tions of the model.
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  • Use of current explanations in multicausal abductive reasoning.Todd R. Johnson & Josef F. Krems - 2001 - Cognitive Science 25 (6):903-939.
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  • Abductive Equivalence in First-order Logic.Katsumi Inoue & Chiaki Sakama - 2006 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 14 (2):333-346.
    In Artificial Intelligence, abduction is often formalized in first-order logic. In this article, we focus on the problem of identifying equivalence of two abductive theories represented in first-order logic. To this end, two definitions of equivalence are given for abduction. Explainable equivalence requires that two abductive theories have the same explainability for any observation. On the other hand, explanatory equivalence guarantees that any observation has exactly the same explanations in each abductive theory. Explanatory equivalence is a stronger notion than explainable (...)
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  • Analogy, explanation, and proof.John E. Hummel, John Licato & Selmer Bringsjord - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
  • Commentary: Exploratory data analysis.Brian D. Haig - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • A Normative Theory of Argument Strength.Ulrike Hahn & Mike Oaksford - 2006 - Informal Logic 26 (1):1-24.
    In this article, we argue for the general importance of normative theories of argument strength. We also provide some evidence based on our recent work on the fallacies as to why Bayesian probability might, in fact, be able to supply such an account. In the remainder of the article we discuss the general characteristics that make a specifically Bayesian approach desirable, and critically evaluate putative flaws of Bayesian probability that have been raised in the argumentation literature.
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  • Visualizing Scientific Inference.David C. Gooding - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (1):15-35.
  • Abductive reasoning in neural-symbolic systems.Artur S. D’Avila Garcez, Dov M. Gabbay, Oliver Ray & John Woods - 2007 - Topoi 26 (1):37-49.
    Abduction is or subsumes a process of inference. It entertains possible hypotheses and it chooses hypotheses for further scrutiny. There is a large literature on various aspects of non-symbolic, subconscious abduction. There is also a very active research community working on the symbolic (logical) characterisation of abduction, which typically treats it as a form of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. In this paper we start to bridge the gap between the symbolic and sub-symbolic approaches to abduction. We are interested in benefiting from developments (...)
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  • Executive Control of Scientific Discovery.Eric G. Freedman - 1998 - Philosophica 62 (2).
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  • The 'requirement of total evidence' and its role in phylogenetic systematics.Kirk Fitzhugh - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):309-351.
    The question of whether or not to partition data for the purposes of inferring phylogenetic hypotheses remains controversial. Opinions have been especially divided since Kluge's (1989, Systematic Zoology 38, 7–25) claim that data partitioning violates the requirement of total evidence (RTE). Unfortunately, advocacy for or against the RTE has not been based on accurate portrayals of the requirement. The RTE is a basic maxim for non-deductive inference, stipulating that evidence must be considered if it has relevance to an inference. Evidence (...)
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  • Phylogenetic Inference and the Misplaced Premise of Substitution Rates.Kirk Fitzhugh - 2021 - Acta Biotheoretica 69 (4):799-819.
    Three competing ‘methods’ have been endorsed for inferring phylogenetic hypotheses: parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesianism. The latter two have been claimed superior because they take into account rates of sequence substitution. Can rates of substitution be justified on its own accord in inferences of explanatory hypotheses? Answering this question requires addressing four issues: (1) the aim of scientific inquiry, (2) the nature of why-questions, (3) explanatory hypotheses as answers to why-questions, and (4) acknowledging that neither parsimony, likelihood, nor Bayesianism are inferential (...)
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  • Why it doesn’t matter whether the virtues are truth-conducive.Robert William Fischer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1-15.
    A potential explanation of a fact is a hypothesis such that, if it were true, it would explain the fact in question. Let’s suppose that we become aware of a fact and some potential explanations thereof. Let’s also suppose that we would like to believe the truth. Given this aim, we can ask two questions. First, is it likely that one of these hypotheses is true? Second, given an affirmative answer to the first question, which one is it likely to (...)
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  • On generalising from single case studies: Epistemological reflections.Colin W. Evers & W. U. H. - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (4):511–526.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the conditions under which generalisation from single case studies, in the sense of making inferences concerning a wider class of phenomena beyond a case, is reasonable. Two sets of conditions, in particular, provide the basis for our consideration of this issue. The first is an exploration of the impressive amount of empirical knowledge that is contained within the theories that are used to make observations, to classify phenomena, and to understand and interpret (...)
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  • On Generalising from Single Case Studies: Epistemological Reflections.Colin W. Evers & Echo H. Wu - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (4):511-526.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the conditions under which generalisation from single case studies, in the sense of making inferences concerning a wider class of phenomena beyond a case, is reasonable. Two sets of conditions, in particular, provide the basis for our consideration of this issue. The first is an exploration of the impressive amount of empirical knowledge that is contained within the theories that are used to make observations, to classify phenomena, and to understand and interpret (...)
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  • Complementary frameworks of scientific inquiry: Hypothetico-deductive, hypothetico-inductive, and observational-inductive.T. E. Eastman & F. Mahootian - 2009 - World Futures 65 (1):61-75.
    The 20th century philosophy of science began on a positivistic note. Its focal point was scientific explanation and the hypothetico-deductive (HD) framework of explanation was proposed as the standard of what is meant by “science.” HD framework, its inductive and statistical variants, and other logic-based approaches to modeling scientific explanation were developed long before the dawn of the information age. Since that time, the volume of observational data and power of high performance computing have increased by several orders of magnitude (...)
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  • Learning by Arguing About Evidence and Explanations.John Dowell & Marzieh Asgari-Targhi - 2008 - Argumentation 22 (2):217-233.
    Collaborative learning with cases characteristically involves discussing and developing shared explanations. We investigated the argumentation scheme which learners use in constructing shared explanations over evidence. We observed medical students attempting to explain how a judge had arrived at his verdict in a case of medical negligence. The students were learning within a virtual learning environment and their communication was computer mediated. We identify the dialogue type that these learners construct and show that their argumentation conforms with an abductive form of (...)
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  • Probabilistic Alternatives to Bayesianism: The Case of Explanationism.Igor Douven & Jonah N. Schupbach - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
    There has been a probabilistic turn in contemporary cognitive science. Far and away, most of the work in this vein is Bayesian, at least in name. Coinciding with this development, philosophers have increasingly promoted Bayesianism as the best normative account of how humans ought to reason. In this paper, we make a push for exploring the probabilistic terrain outside of Bayesianism. Non-Bayesian, but still probabilistic, theories provide plausible competitors both to descriptive and normative Bayesian accounts. We argue for this general (...)
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  • Abduction and Metaphor: An Inquiry into Common Cognitive Mechanism.X. U. Cihua & L. I. Hengwei - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):480-491.
    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: Whether there is a common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor? And 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 (...)
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  • Indefinite abductive explanations.Luciano Caroprese & Ester Zumpano - 2019 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 29 (3):233-254.
    This paper stems from previous works of the authors in which a new measure of the simplicity of an explanation based on its degree of arbitrariness is proposed: The more the explanation is arbitray, the less appealing it is, with explanations having no arbitrariness – called constrained – being the preferred ones. In previous works, as commonly done in the literature of abductive logic programming, a set of hypotheses is not an explanation, unless it is definite, i.e. it explains all (...)
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  • Should scientific realists be platonists?Jacob Busch & Joe Morrison - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):435-449.
    Enhanced indispensability arguments claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the best explanation. Our central question concerns this purported parity of reasoning: do people who defend the EIA make an appropriate use of the resources of Scientific Realism to achieve platonism? We argue that just because a variety of different inferential strategies can be employed by Scientific Realists does not mean that ontological conclusions concerning which things we should (...)
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  • A neurocomputational approach to abduction.Robert G. Burton - 1999 - Minds and Machines 9 (2):257-265.
    Recent developments in the cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence suggest ways of answering the most serious challenge to Peirce's notion of abduction. Either there is no such logical process as abduction or, if abduction is a form of inference, it is essentially unconscious and therefore beyond rational control so that it lacks any normative significance. Peirce himself anticipates and attempts to answer this challenge. Peirce argues that abduction is both a source of creative insight and a form of logical inference (...)
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  • IBE in engineering science - the case of malfunction explanation.Kristian González Barman & Dingmar van Eck - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-19.
    In this paper we investigate how inference to the best explanation works in engineering science, focussing on the context of malfunction explanation. While IBE has gotten a lot of attention in the philosophy of science literature, few, if any, philosophical work has focussed on IBE in engineering science practice. We first show that IBE in engineering science has a similar structure as IBE in other scientific domains in the sense that in both settings IBE hinges on the weighing of explanatory (...)
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