Abduction by Classification and Assembly

PSA Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986 (1):458-470 (1986)
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We describe a general problem solving mechanism that is especially suited for performing a particular form of abductive inference, or best-explanation finding. A problem solver embodying this mechanism synthesizes composite hypotheses. It does so by by combining hypothesis parts as a means to the satisfaction of explanatory goals. In this way it is able to arrive at complex, integrated conclusions which are not pre-stored.The intent is to present a computationally-feasible, task-specific problem solver for a particular information processing task which is nevertheless of very great generality. The task is that of synthesizing coherent composite explanatory hypotheses based upon a prestored, and possibly vast collection of hypothesis-generating “concepts”. The authors’ claim is nothing less than to have shown, in a new sense, and surpassing all other work in this area, how it is computationally possible for an agent to come to “know”, based upon the evidence of the case.



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The inference to the best explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.
Enumerative induction and best explanation.Robert H. Ennis - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (18):523-529.
Epistemic value.William G. Lycan - 1985 - Synthese 64 (2):137 - 164.

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