Peirce Knew Why Abduction Isn’t IBE—A Scheme and Critical Questions for Abductive Argument

Argumentation 32 (4):569-587 (2017)


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 as a third reasoning mode. We also propose a scheme for abductive argument along with critical questions, and suggest retaining abduction alongside IBE as related but distinct categories.

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Author's Profile

Frank Zenker
Bogazici University

References found in this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Argumentation Schemes.Douglas Walton, Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno - 2008 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Conceptual Revolutions.Paul Thagard - 1992 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
The Inference to the Best Explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.

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