The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Hume on Miracles (H on M)’


The first starting of a hypothesis and the entertaining of it, whether as a simple interrogation or with any degree of confidence, is an inferential step which I propose to call abduction. This will include a preference for any one hypothesis over others which would equally explain the facts, so long as this preference is not based upon any previous knowledge bearing upon the truth of the hypotheses, nor on any testing of any of the hypotheses, after having admitted them on probation. I call all such inference by the peculiar name, abduction, because its legitimacy depends upon altogether different principles from those of other kinds of inference.

CP 6.525
‘Abduction’ (pub. 30.12.12-17:28). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Dec 30, 2012, 17:28 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:05 by Commens Admin