In _Abductive Analysis_, Iddo Tavory and Stefan Timmermans provide a new navigational map for constructing empirically based generalizations in qualitative research. They outline an accessible way to think about observations, methods, and theories that nurtures theory-formation without locking it into predefined conceptual boxes. The authors view research as continually moving back and forth between a set of observations and theoretical generalizations. To craft theory is to then pitch one’s observations in relation to other potential cases, both within and without one’s (...) field. The book provides novel ways to approach the challenges that plague qualitative researchers across the social sciences—how to think about the relation between methods and theories, how to conceptualize causality, how to construct axes of variation, and how to leverage the researcher’s community of inquiry. _Abductive Analysis_ is a landmark work that shows how a pragmatist approach provides a more productive and fruitful way to conduct qualitative research. (shrink)
This book examines three areas in which abductive reasoning is especially important: medicine, science, and law. The reader is introduced to abduction and shown how it has evolved historically into the framework of conventional wisdom in logic. Discussions draw upon recent techniques used in artificial intelligence, particularly in the areas of multi-agent systems and plan recognition, to develop a dialogue model of explanation. Cases of causal explanations in law are analyzed using abductive reasoning, and all the components are finally (...) brought together to build a new account of abductive reasoning. By clarifying the notion of abduction as a common and significant type of reasoning in everyday argumentation, _Abductive Reasoning_ will be useful to scholars and students in many fields, including argumentation, computing and artificial intelligence, psychology and cognitive science, law, philosophy, linguistics, and speech communication and rhetoric. (shrink)
In informal terms, abductive reasoning involves inferring the best or most plausible explanation from a given set of facts or data. It is a common occurrence in everyday life and crops up in such diverse places as medical diagnosis, scientific theory formation, accident investigation, language understanding, and jury deliberation. In recent years, it has become a popular and fruitful topic in artificial intelligence research. This volume breaks new ground in the scientific, philosophical, and technological study of abduction. It presents (...) new ideas about inferential and information-processing foundations for knowledge and certainty. The authors argue that knowledge arises from experience by processes of abductive inference, in contrast to the view that it arises non-inferentially, or that deduction and inductive generalization are enough to account for knowledge. Much AI research is hypothetical, so the importance of this book is that it reports key discoveries about abduction that have been made as a result of designing, building, testing, and analyzing actual working knowledge-based systems for medical diagnosis and other abductive tasks. The book tells the story of six generations of increasingly sophisticated generic abduction machines, RED-1, RED-2, PEIRCE, MDX2, TIPS, QUAWDS, and the discovery of reasoning strategies that make it computationally feasible to form well-justified composite explanatory hypotheses, despite the threat of combinatorial explosion. The final chapter argues that perception is logically abductive and presents a layered-abduction computational model of perceptual information processing. This book will be of great interest to researchers in AI, cognitive science, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Abductive Reasoning: Logical Investigations into Discovery and Explanation is a much awaited original contribution to the study of abductive reasoning, providing logical foundations and a rich sample of pertinent applications. Divided into three parts on the conceptual framework, the logical foundations, and the applications, this monograph takes the reader for a comprehensive and erudite tour through the taxonomy of abductive reasoning, via the logical workings of abductive inference ending with applications pertinent to scientific explanation, empirical progress, pragmatism and belief revision.
Abductive reasoning involves finding the missing premise of an “unsaturated” deductive inference, thereby selecting a possible _explanans_ for a conclusion based on a set of previously accepted premises. In this paper, we explore abductive reasoning from a structural proof-theory perspective. We present a hybrid sequent calculus for classical propositional logic that uses sequents and antisequents to define a procedure for identifying the set of analytic hypotheses that a rational agent would be expected to select as _explanans_ when presented with an (...) abductive problem. Specifically, we show that this set may not include the deductively minimal hypothesis due to the presence of redundant information. We also establish that the set of all analytic hypotheses exhausts all possible solutions to the given problem. Finally, we propose a deductive criterion for differentiating between the best _explanans_ candidates and other hypotheses. (shrink)
Theoretical and manipulative abduction conjectures and manipulations : the extra-theoretical dimension of scientific discovery. -- Non-explanatory and instrumental abduction : plausibility, implausibility, ignorance preservation. -- Semiotic brains and artificial minds : how brains make up material cognitive systems. -- Neuromultimodal abduction : pre-wired brains, embidiment, neurospaces. -- Animal abduction : from mindless organisms to srtifactual mediators. -- Abduction, affordances, and cognitive niches : sharing representations and creating chances through cognitive niche construction. -- Abduction in (...) human and logical agents : hasty generalizers, hybrid abducers, fallacies. -- Morphodynamical abduction : causation of hypotheses by attractors dynamics. (shrink)
This paper discusses abductive reasoning---that is, reasoning in which explanatory hypotheses are formed and evaluated. First, it criticizes two recent formal logical models of abduction. An adequate formalization would have to take into account the following aspects of abduction: explanation is not deduction; hypotheses are layered; abduction is sometimes creative; hypotheses may be revolutionary; completeness is elusive; simplicity is complex; and abductive reasoning may be visual and non-sentential. Second, in order to illustrate visual aspects of hypothesis formation, (...) the paper describes recent work on visual inference in archaeology. Third, in connection with the evaluation of explanatory hypotheses, the paper describes recent results on the computation of coherence. (shrink)
Aliseda’s Abductive Reasoning is focused on the logical problem of abduction. My paper, in contrast, deals with the epistemic problems raised by this sort of inference. I analyze the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation (IBE). Firstly a heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distinguished. The epistemic problem is particularly pressing for the latter interpretation, since it is devoid of content without specific epistemic criteria for separating acceptable explanations from those which are not. (...) Then I discuss two different normative interpretations of IBE. I. Niiniliuoto favours a “probabilistic-confirmational” translation of explanatory merit while S. Psillos thinks that the insight of IBE is lost in a pure probabilistic format. My conclusion is that Aliseda’s theory of abduction fits better with a heuristic account of IBE. (shrink)
Abduction, deduction and induction are different forms of inference in science. However, only a few attempts have been made to introduce the idea of abductive reasoning as an extended way of thinking about clinical practice in nursing research. The aim of this paper was to encourage critical reflections about abductive reasoning based on three empirical examples from nursing research and includes three research questions on what abductive reasoning is, how the process has taken place, and how knowledge about abductive (...) reasoning based on the examples can inform nursing research and clinical practice. The study has a descriptive and explorative approach using a convenience sample of three empirical studies from nursing research. The three studies illustrate different ways to enter the abductive reasoning process in steps. They represent new caring models, which offer visual and cognitive maps for expanding nursing research, education and thus informing care. Therefore, we suggest that abductive reasoning may be beneficial for different ways of knowing and demonstrates scientific innovation to shed new light on health phenomena, which can help researchers and practitioners to gain a broader and deeper understanding of nursing care inquiry. However, more studies are needed to broaden this scope. (shrink)
The relationship between Peircean abduction and the modern notion of Inference to the Best Explanation is a matter of dispute. Some philosophers, such as Harman :88–95, 1965) and Lipton, claim that abduction and IBE are virtually the same. Others, however, hold that they are quite different :503, 1998; Minnameier in Erkenntnis 60:75–105, 2004) and there is no link between them :419–442, 2009). In this paper, I argue that neither of these views is correct. I show that abduction (...) and IBE have important similarities as well as differences. Moreover, by bringing a historical perspective to the study of the relationship between abduction and IBE—a perspective that is lacking in the literature—I show that their differences can be well understood in terms of two historic developments in the history of philosophy of science: first, Reichenbach’s distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification—and the consequent jettisoning of the context of discovery from philosophy of science—and second, underdetermination of theory by data. (shrink)
This paper primarily deals with theconceptual prospects for generalizing the aim ofabduction from the standard one of explainingsurprising or anomalous observations to that ofempirical progress or even truth approximation. Itturns out that the main abduction task then becomesthe instrumentalist task of theory revision aiming atan empirically more successful theory, relative to theavailable data, but not necessarily compatible withthem. The rest, that is, genuine empirical progress aswell as observational, referential and theoreticaltruth approximation, is a matter of evaluation andselection, and possibly (...) new generation tasks forfurther improvement. The paper concludes with a surveyof possible points of departure, in AI and logic, forcomputational treatment of the instrumentalist taskguided by the `comparative evaluation matrix''. (shrink)
Selective abduction is in contrast with creative abduction as well as Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). There are two types of selective abduction: Either hypotheses are selected among new and conjectural hypotheses without any prior knowledge ( Pierce s' selective abduction), or the selection of the best hypotheses and explanations is among a large number of possible hypotheses and explanations already known (L. Magnani's selective abduction and G. Schurz's factual abduction). According to both (...) views, as well as an alternative view, which belongs to Dov M. Gabby and John Woods, selective abduction is different from inference to the best explanation. Schurz's factual abduction depends on all three sub-processes of inference, i.e.: colligation, observation, and judgment (c, o, and j); But Pierce's selective abduction, on the other hand, has only a third sub-process, i.e. judgment process (j), and therefore it cannot be regarded as a process of abductive epistemic inference. (shrink)
Some New Mechanists have proposed that claims of compositional relations are justified by combining the results of top-down and bottom-up interlevel interventions. But what do scientists do when they can perform, say, a cellular intervention, but not a subcellular detection? In such cases, paired interlevel interventions are unavailable. We propose that scientists use abduction and we illustrate its use through a case study of the ionic theory of resting and action potentials.
This monograph attempts to clarify one significant but much neglected aspect of Peirce's contribution to the philosophy of science. It was written in 1963 as my M. A. thesis at the Uni versity of Illinois. Since the topic is still neglected it is hoped that its pUblication will be of use to Peirce scholars. I should like to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Max Fisch who broached this topic to me and who advised me con tinuously through its development, assisting (...) generously with his own insights and unpublished Peirce manuscripts. TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1. A Current Issue in the Philosophy of Science 1 2. Peirce and His Theory of Abduction 5 3. The General Character of Abduction 7 PART I: THE EARLY THEORY 1. Peirce's Earliest Conception of Inference 11 2. Three Kinds of Inference and Three Figures of Syllogism 13 3. Ampliative Inference and Cognition 17 4. Induction and Hypothesis 20 5. The Method of Methods 23 PART II: THE LATER THEORY 1. The Transitional Period 28 2. Three Stages of Inquiry 31 3. Abduction and Guessing Instinct 35 4. Logic as a Normative Science 38 5. Hypothesis Construction and Selection 41 6. Abduction and Pragmatism 44 7. Economy of Research 47 8. Justification of Abduction 51 CONCLUSION 55 61 BIBLIOGRAPHY INTRODUCTION 1. (shrink)
Delusional beliefs have sometimes been considered as rational inferences from abnormal experiences. We explore this idea in more detail, making the following points. Firstly, the abnormalities of cognition which initially prompt the entertaining of a delusional belief are not always conscious and since we prefer to restrict the term “experience” to consciousness we refer to “abnormal data” rather than “abnormal experience”. Secondly, we argue that in relation to many delusions (we consider eight) one can clearly identify what the abnormal cognitive (...) data are which prompted the delusion and what the neuropsychological impairment is which is responsible for the occurrence of these data; but one can equally clearly point to cases where this impairments is present but delusion is not. So the impairment is not sufficient for delusion to occur. A second cognitive impairment, one which impairs the ability to evaluate beliefs, must also be present. Thirdly (and this is the main thrust of our chapter) we consider in detail what the nature of the inference is that leads from the abnormal data to the belief. This is not deductive inference and it is not inference by enumerative induction; it is abductive inference. We offer a Bayesian account of abductive inference and apply it to the explanation of delusional belief. (shrink)
The first part of this paper finds Craver’s (2007) mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of idealized experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this common-cause coupling is the existence of an additional dependence relation, viz. constitution. Apart from adequately (...) capturing the essential characteristics of constitution missed by MM, NDC has important ramifications for constitutional discovery—most notably, that there is no experimentum crucis for constitution, not even under ideal discovery circumstances. (shrink)
The paper deals with the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation (IBE). A heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distinguished. Besides, two different normative interpretations —those vindicated by I. Niiniluoto and S. Psillos— are discussed. I conclude that, in principle, Aliseda's theory of abduction fits better with a heuristic account of IBE.
Abduction or retroduction, as introduced by C.S. Peirce in the double sense of searching for explanatory instances and providing an explanation is a kind of complement for usual argumentation. There is, however, an inferential step from the explanandum to the abductive explanans . Whether this inferential step can be captured by logical machinery depends upon a number of assumptions, but in any case it suffers in principle from the triviality objection: any time a singular contradictory explanans occurs, the system (...) collapses and stops working. The traditional remedies for such collapsing are the expensive mechanisms of consistency maintenance, or complicated theories of non-monotonic derivation that keep the system running at a higher cost. I intend to show that the robust logics of formal inconsistency, a particular category of paraconsistent logics which permit the internalization of the concepts of consistency and inconsistency inside the object language, provide simple yet powerful techniques for automatic abduction. Moreover, the whole procedure is capable of automatization by means of the tableau proof-procedures available for such logics. Some motivating examples are discussed in detail. (shrink)
The purpose of this piece is to provide a critical analysis on some key aspects of abduction, as conceived by several researchers through my book Abductive Reasoning. These contributions raise fundamental questions concerning the conjectural character of abduction, its psychological status, its logical and computational structure as well as its role as inference to the best explanation and as a process of epistemic change.
Scientists confronted with multiple explanatory hypotheses as a result of their abductive inferences, generally want to reason further on the different hypotheses one by one. This paper presents a modal adaptive logic MLA s that enables us to model abduction in such a way that the different explanatory hypotheses can be derived individually. This modelling is illustrated with a case study on the different hypotheses on the origin of the Moon.
This article claims the validity of abductive reasoning, or inference to the best explanation, as a practice of discovery of explanatory scientific hypotheses. Along the way to achieve this objective I present here a series of arguments that question the feasibility of Bayesianism as a theory of scientific confirmation. Having solved this issue, I resort to an episode of contemporary astrocosmology that I interpret as an eloquent example of the effectiveness of abductive methodology in contemporary theoretical physics.
After a brief comparison of Aliseda’s account with different approaches to abductive reasoning, I relate abduction, as studied by Aliseda, to idealization, a notion which also occupies a very important role in scientific change, as well as to different ways of dealing with the growth of scientific knowledge understood as a particular kind of non-monotonic process. A particularly interesting kind of abductive reasoning could be that of finding an appropriate concretization case for a theory, originally revealed as extraordinarily success-ful (...) but later discovered to be strictly false or only approximately or ideally true. I try to show this with the example of the Kepler-Newton relation. At the end of the paper, I give criteria in order to construe abduc-tive explanations in correspondence with a reasonable account of empirical progress. (shrink)
The paper deals with the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation. A heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distinguished. Besides, two different normative interpretations —those vindicated by I. Niiniluoto and S. Psillos— are discussed. I conclude that, in principle, Aliseda’s theory of abduction fits better with a heuristic account of IBE.
This paper focuses on abduction as explicit or readily formulatable inference to possible explanatory hypotheses--as contrasted with inference to conceptual innovations or abductive logic as a cycle of hypotheses, deduction of consequences and inductive testing. Inference to an explanation is often a matter of projection or extrapolation of elements of accepted theory for the solution of outstanding problems in particular domains of inquiry. I say "projections or extrapolation" of accepted theory, but I mean to point to something broader and (...) suggest how elements of accepted theory constrain emergent models and plausible inferences to explanations--in a quasi-rationalist fashion. I draw on illustrations from quantum gravity below just because there is so little direct evidence available in the field. It is in such cases that Peirce's discussions of abductive inference provide the most plausible support for the idea of a logic of abduction--as inference to readily formulatable explanatory hypotheses. The possible need for conceptual innovation points to the limits on the possibility of a logic of abduction of a more rationalistic character--selecting uniquely superior explanations. Abduction conceived as a repeated cycle of inquiry also points to limits on our expectations for an abductive logic. My chief point is that the character of inference to an explanation, viewed below as embedded within arguments from analogy, is so little compelling, as a matter of logical form alone, that there will always be a pluralism of plausible alternatives among untested hypotheses and inferences to them--calling for some comparative evaluation. This point leads on to some consideration of the virtues of hypotheses--as a description of the range of this pluralism. (shrink)
Abduction was first introduced in the epistemological context of scientific discovery. It was more recently analyzed in artificial intelligence, especially with respect to diagnosis analysis or ordinary reasoning. These two fields share a common view of abduction as a general process of hypotheses formation. More precisely, abduction is conceived as a kind of reverse explanation where a hypothesis H can be abduced from events E if H is a good explanation of E. The paper surveys four known (...) schemes for abduction that can be used in both fields. Its first contribution is a taxonomy of these schemes according to a common semantic framework based on belief revision. Its second contribution is to produce, for each non-trivial scheme, a representation theorem linking its semantic framework to a set of postulates. Its third contribution is to present semantic and axiomatic arguments in favor of one of these schemes, ordered abduction, which has never been vindicated in the literature. (shrink)
The ultimate focus of the current essay is on methods of “creative abduction” that have some guarantees as reliable guides to the truth, and those that do not. Emphasizing work by Richard Englehart using data from the World Values Survey, Gerhard Schurz has analyzed literature surrounding Samuel Huntington’s well-known claims that civilization is divided into eight contending traditions, some of which resist “modernization” – democracy, civil rights, equality of rights of women and minorities, secularism. Schurz suggests an evolutionary model (...) of modernization and identifies opposing social forces. In a later essay, citing Englehart’s work as an example, Schurz identifies factor analysis as an example of “creative abduction”. The theories of Englehart and his collaborators are reviewed again in the current essay. Published simulations and standard statistical desiderata for causal inference show the methods Englehart used, factor analysis in particular, are not guides to truth for the kind of data Schurz recognizes as common in political science. Recent work in statistics, philosophy and computer science that makes advances towards such methods is briefly reviewed. (shrink)
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 interpret the generation and evolution of scientific metaphors from the perspective of the cognitive mechanism of abductive inference. Then it interprets the common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor within Hawkins’ frame of intelligence theory. The commonality between abduction and metaphor indicates the potential to further explore human intelligence. (shrink)
This book offers a novel perspective on abduction. It starts by discussing the major theories of abduction, focusing on the hybrid nature of abduction as both inference and intuition. It reports on the Peircean theory of abduction and discusses the more recent Magnani concept of animal abduction, connecting them to the work of medieval philosophers. Building on Magnani's manipulative abduction, the accompanying classification of abduction, and the hybrid concept of abduction as both (...) inference and intuition, the book examines the problem of visual perception together with the related concepts of misrepresentation and semantic information. It presents the author's views on caricature and the caricature model of science, and then extends the scope of discussion by introducing some standard issues in the philosophy of science. By discussing the concept of ad hoc hypothesis generation as enthymeme resolution, it demonstrates how ubiquitous the problem of abduction is in all the different individual scientific disciplines. This comprehensive text provides philosophers, logicians and cognitive scientists with a historical, unified and authoritative perspective on abduction. (shrink)
Peirce claims in his Lectures on Pragmatism [CP 5.196] that “If you carefully consider the question of pragmatism you will see that it is nothing else than the question of the logic of abduction;” and further “no effect of pragmatism which is consequent upon its effect on abduction can go to show that pragmatism is anything more than a doctrine concerning the logic of abduction.” Plausibly, there is, at best, a quasi-logic of abduction, which properly issues (...) in our best means for the methodological evaluation and ordering of (yet untested) hypotheses or theories. There is always a range of explanatory innovations that may be proposed, from more conservative to less conservative; and it is important, in light of what Peirce has to say on the relation of abduction to pragmatism, that in ruling out “wild guessing,” attention be initially directed to more conservative proposals. Still conservatism, which we might understand in terms of Peircean continuity, is sometimes justly sacrificed for greater comprehension or overall simplicity of approach. This paper explores the relationships among Peircean abduction and pragmatism, the “theoretical virtues” approach to the evaluation of hypotheses, and contextual constraint on the scientific imagination. (shrink)
_Abduction of generalizations_ is the process in which explanatory hypotheses are formed for an observed, yet puzzling generalization such as ``pineapples taste sweet" or ``rainbows appear when the sun breaks through the rain". This phenomenon has received little attention in formal logic and philosophy of science. The current paper remedies this lacuna by first giving an overview of some general characteristics of this process, elaborating on its ubiquity in scientific and daily life reasoning. Second, the adaptive logic $\LAG$ is presented (...) to explicate this process formally. (shrink)
According to C. S. Peirce, abduction is a rational attempt to locate an explanation for a puzzling phenomenon, where this is a process that includes both generating explanatory hypotheses and selecting certain hypotheses for further scrutiny. Since inference is a controlled process that can be subjected to normative standards, essential to his view of abductive rasoning is that it is correlated to a unique species of correctness that cannot be reduced to deductive validity or inductive strength. This irreducibility claim (...) is of considerable importance for the logical and epistemological scrutiny of scientific methods, but it is not clear that Peirce produced a convicing argument for it. To the contrary, when the full structure of abductive argumentation is clarified, especially as presented in Peirce’s later writings on the topic, a good case can be made for viewing every inferential step in the abductive process as dissolving into familiar forms of deductive and inductive reasoning. Specifically, hypothesis-selection is a special type of practical inference that, if correct, is deductively valid, while the creative phase, hypothesis-generation, is not inferential at all. Once this is understood, it emerges that the familiar descriptions of abduction as “inference to the best explanation” or as a process of “belief revision” are, at best, misleading. (shrink)
Epistemic two-dimensional semantics, advocated by Chalmers and Jackson, among others, aims to restore the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke, by showing how armchair access to semantic intensions provides a basis for knowledge of necessary a posteriori truths. The most compelling objections to E2D are that, for one or other reason, the requisite intensions are not accessible from the armchair. As we substantiate here, existing versions of E2D are indeed subject to such access-based objections. But, we (...) moreover argue, the difficulty lies not with E2D but with the typically presupposed conceiving-based epistemology of intensions. Freed from that epistemology, and given the right alternative—one where inference to the best explanation provides the operative guide to intensions—E2D can meet access-based objections, and fulfill its promise of restoring the desirable link between necessity and a priority. This result serves as a central application of Biggs and Wilson, according to which abduction is an a priori mode of inference. (shrink)
This paper presents an enrichment of the Gabbay–Woods schema of Peirce’s 1903 logical form of abduction with illocutionary acts, drawing from logic for pragmatics and its resources to model justified assertions. It analyses the enriched schema and puts it into the perspective of Peirce’s logic and philosophy.
There are various ``classical'' arguments against abduction as a logic of discovery,especially that (1) abduction is too weak a mode of inference to be of any use, and (2) in basic formulation of abduction the hypothesisis already presupposed to be known, so it is not the way hypotheses are discovered in the first place. In this paper I argue, by bringing forth the idea of strategies,that these counter-arguments are weaker than may appear. The concept of strategies suggests, (...) inter alia, that many inferential moves are taken into account at the same time. This is especially important in abductive reasoning, which is basically a very weak mode of inference. The importance of strategic thinking can already be seen in Charles S.Peirce's early treatments of the topic, and N.R.Hanson's later writings on abduction although they did not use the concept of``strategies.'' On the whole, I am arguing that the focus should be more on methodological processes, and not only on validity considerations, which have dominated the discussion about abduction. (shrink)
A reorientation is needed in methodological debate about the role of intuitions in philosophy. Methodological debate has lost sight of the reason why it makes sense to focus on questions about intuitions when thinking about the methods or epistemology of philosophy. The problem is an approach to methodology that focuses almost exclusively on questions about some evidential role that intuitions may or may not play in philosophers’ arguments. A new approach is needed. Approaching methodological questions about the role of intuitions (...) in philosophy with an abductive model of philosophical inquiry in mind will help ensure the debate doesn't lose sight of what motivates the debate. (shrink)
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 methodology of research, scarce attention has been paid to the logic of discovery over the last hundred years, despite an impressive development not only of scientific research but also of logic. -/- Having this in mind, the exposition is divided into five parts: 1) a brief presentation of Peirce, focusing on his work as a professional scientist; 2) an exposition of the classification of inferences by the young Peirce: deduction, induction and hypothesis; 3) a sketch of the notion of abduction in the mature Peirce; 4) an exposition of the logic of surprise; and finally, by way of conclusion, 5) a discussion of this peculiar ability of guessing understood as a rational instinct. -/- . (shrink)
We discuss in this paper the scope of abduction in Economics. The literature on this type of inference shows that it can be interpreted in different ways, according to the role and nature of its outcome. We present a formal model that allows to capture these various meanings in different economic contexts.
We study abductive, causal, and non-causal conditionals in indicative and counterfactual formulations using probabilistic truth table tasks under incomplete probabilistic knowledge (N = 80). We frame the task as a probability-logical inference problem. The most frequently observed response type across all conditions was a class of conditional event interpretations of conditionals; it was followed by conjunction interpretations. An interesting minority of participants neglected some of the relevant imprecision involved in the premises when inferring lower or upper probability bounds on the (...) target conditional/counterfactual ("halfway responses"). We discuss the results in the light of coherence-based probability logic and the new paradigm psychology of reasoning. (shrink)
An examination of alien abduction belief can inform how we ought to approach constructing explanations of monothematic delusion formation. I argue that the formation and maintenance of alien abduction beliefs can be explained by a one-factor account, and that this explanatory power generalizes to (other) cases of monothematic delusions. There are no differences between alien abduction beliefs and monothematic delusions which indicate the need for additional explanatory factors in cases of the latter. I make the additional point (...) that whilst alien abduction beliefs can be readily explained using a one-factor framework, the two-factor framework requires adjustment to accommodate them. I conclude that theorists interested in delusion formation have much to learn from the case of alien abduction belief. (shrink)
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 made by each community. In particular, we are interested in the ability of non-symbolic systems (neural networks) to learn from experience using efficient algorithms and to perform massively parallel computations of alternative abductive explanations. At the same time, we would like to benefit from the rigour and semantic clarity of symbolic logic. We present two approaches to dealing with abduction in neural networks. One of them uses Connectionist Modal Logic and a translation of Horn clauses into modal clauses to come up with a neural network ensemble that computes abductive explanations in a top-down fashion. The other combines neural-symbolic systems and abductive logic programming and proposes a neural architecture which performs a more systematic, bottom-up computation of alternative abductive explanations. Both approaches employ standard neural network architectures which are already known to be highly effective in practical learning applications. Differently from previous work in the area, our aim is to promote the integration of reasoning and learning in a way that the neural network provides the machinery for cognitive computation, inductive learning and hypothetical reasoning, while logic provides the rigour and explanation capability to the systems, facilitating the interaction with the outside world. Although it is left as future work to determine whether the structure of one of the proposed approaches is more amenable to learning than the other, we hope to have contributed to the development of the area by approaching it from the perspective of symbolic and sub-symbolic integration. (shrink)
In abductive planning, plans are constructed as reasons for an agent to act: plans are demonstrations in logical theory of action that a goal will result assuming that given actions occur successfully. This paper shows how to construct plans abductively for an agent that can sense the world to augment its partial information. We use a formalism that explicitly refers not only to time but also to the information on which the agent deliberates. Goals are reformulated to represent the successive (...) stages of deliberation and action the agent follows in carrying out a course of action, while constraints on assumed actions ensure that an agent at each step performs a specific action selected for its known effects. The result is a simple formalism that can directly inform extensions to implemented planners. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Abduction as a method for sociological explanation is increasingly gaining interest, but questions remain as to what exactly it is and how it differs from other methods of inquiry. This paper compares abduction as conceived in Peircean pragmatism with the critical realist concept of retroduction. I argue that abduction in the Peircean sense and retroduction in the critical realist sense refer to different, but complementary, modes of inference. Abductive conclusions provide the starting point for retroductive inferences; (...) the latter inform the tenability of the former. Together, abduction and retroduction contribute to theoretical explanation. (shrink)
Peter Lipton argues that inference to the best explanation involves the selection of a hypothesis on the basis of its loveliness. I argue that in optimal cases of IBE we may be able to eliminate all but one of the hypotheses. In such cases we have a form of eliminative induction takes place, which I call ‘Holmesian inference’. I argue that Lipton’s example in which Ignaz Semmelweis identified a cause of puerperal fever better illustrates Holmesian inference than Liptonian IBE. I (...) consider in detail the conditions under which Holmesian inference is possible and conclude by considering the epistemological relations between Holmesian inference and Liptonian IBE.Keywords: Inference to the best explanation; Peter Lipton; Abduction; Holmesian inference; Eliminative induction. (shrink)
This paper introduces a modal epistemology that centers on inference to the best explanation (i.e. abduction). In introducing this abduction-centered modal epistemology, the paper has two main goals. First, it seeks to provide reasons for pursuing an abduction-centered modal epistemology by showing that this epistemology aids a popular stance on the mind-body problem and allows an appealing approach to modality. Second, the paper seeks to show that an abduction-centered modal epistemology can work by showing that (...) class='Hi'>abduction can establish claims about necessity/possibility (i.e. modal claims)—where ‘necessity’ and ‘possibility’ denote metaphysical necessity and possibility, ways things may or may not have been given how they actually are. (shrink)
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 generation and evolution of scientific metaphors from the perspective of the cognitive mechanism of abductive inference. Then it interprets the common cognitive mechanism behind abduction and metaphor within Hawkins’ frame of intelligence theory. The commonality between abduction and metaphor indicates the potential to further explore human intelligence. (shrink)
This book employs a new eco-cognitive model of abduction to underline the distributed and embodied nature of scientific cognition. Its main focus is on the knowledge-enhancing virtues of abduction and on the productive role of scientific models. What are the distinctive features that define the kind of knowledge produced by science? To provide an answer to this question, the book first addresses the ideas of Aristotle, who stressed the essential inferential and distributed role of external cognitive tools and (...) epistemic mediators in abductive cognition. This is analyzed in depth from both a naturalized logic and an ecology of cognition perspective. It is shown how the maximization of cognition, and of abducibility – two typical goals of science – are related to a number of fundamental aspects: the optimization of the eco-cognitive situatedness; the maximization of changeability for both the input and the output of the inferences involved; a high degree of information-sensitiveness; and the need to record the “past life” of abductive inferential practices. Lastly, the book explains how some impoverished epistemological niches – the result of a growing epistemic irresponsibility associated with the commodification and commercialization of science – are now seriously jeopardizing the flourishing development of human creative abduction. (shrink)
The purpose of this piece is to provide a critical analysis on some key aspects of abduction, as conceived by several researchers through my book Abductive Reasoning. These contributions raise fundamental questions concerning the conjectural character of abduction, its psychological status, its logical and computational structure as well as its role as inference to the best explanation and as a process of epistemic change.
Tomis Kapitan’s work on Peirce’s conception of abduction was instrumental for our coming to see how Peircean abduction both relates to and is importantly different from inference to the best explanation (IBE). However, he ultimately concluded that Peirce’s conception of abduction was a muddle. Despite the deeply problematic nature of Peirce’s theory of abduction in these respects, Kapitan’s work on Peircean abduction offers insight into the nature of abductive inquiry that is importantly relevant to the (...) task of making sense of explanatory inquiry in the sciences in general. The view developed here stems from his work and involves disambiguating three forms of inference involved in Peircean abduction in terms of Reichenbach’s and Laudan’s context models of inquiry. Importantly, this includes understanding that abduction involves the context of pursuit. (shrink)