Abduction

Keyword: Abduction


Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Brogaard, Berit O. (1999). Peirce on Abduction and Rational Control
Highlights Charles Peirce's abduction theory as a form of reasoning distinct from deduction and induction. Importance of abduction in Peirce's logical system; Source of his account of abduction; Role of the scientist in the abduction process; Discussion on rational control; Importance of the element of rationality in the process of abduction.
Keywords: Abduction
Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Wirth, Uwe (1999). Abductive Reasoning in Peirce's and Davidson's Account of Interpretation
Focuses on the role of the interpreter's abductive competence in the process of communication. Information on Donald Davidson's account of interpretation; Discussion on interpretation as abductive transformation; Parallelism between the Peircean and Davidsonean description of the process of hypothesis adoption.
Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Pape, Helmut (1999). Abduction and the Topology of Human Cognition
Examines the concept of philosopher Charles Peirce on abduction and human cognition. Details of the logic of abduction; Problems regarding Peirce's conception of abduction; Information on Peirce's theory of cognition.
Keywords: Abduction, Cognition
Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
De Regt, Herman C. (1999). Peirce's Pragmatism, Scientific Realism, and the Problem of Underdetermination
Discusses the views of philosopher Charles Peirce on pragmatism, scientific realism and the problem of underdetermination. Details on Peirce's notion of abduction and its relation to scientific realism; Defense presented by Peirce regarding the theory of scientific realism; Information on the underdetermination of theory by data as the main threat to realism.
Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Burton, Robert G. (2000). The Problems of Control in Abduction
Discusses the problem of control in abduction. Information on Charles Peirce's accounts of abduction; Disciplines included in the cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence; Information on consciousness.
Keywords: Abduction
Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Nesher, Dan (2001). Peircean Epistmology of Learning and the Function of Abduction as the Logic of Discovery
Discusses philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce's epistemology of learning and the functin of abduction as the logic of discovery. Cognitive process of learning and discovery; Way to study the phenomenon of discovery; Details why formal deductive computation cannot generate new concepts and theories.
News | Posted 12/03/2017
Workshop: Ampliative Reasoning in the Sciences

Charles Peirce introduced the term “ampliative” for reasoning in which the conclusion of an argument goes beyond that what is already contained in its premises (Collected Papers 2.623). This is how the term is still standardly used in contemporary logic and philosophy of science, and how it is to be understood in the title of this workshop.

The workshop is devoted to the philosophical analysis of different forms of ampliative reasoning as they occur in scientific practice. Abduction – forming explanatory hypotheses starting from a phenomenon that requires explanation – is one such form. A second example is inductive generalisation based on (limited) observations. Other important types are reasoning by analogy and causal reasoning (in which we arrive at a conclusion about a causal relation starting from non-causal premises).

Ampliative reasoning can be studied by philosophers from three perspectives: formal (philosophical logic, probability theory), methodological (philosophy of science, epistemology) and historical (integrated history & philosophy of science). We aim at a mix of contributions from all these perspectives.

Examples of topics within the first perspective, are

  • Modeling ampliative reasoning processes (abduction, induction, analogical reasoning, …) by means of formal logics.
  • Modeling these ampliative reasoning processes by means of probability theory.
  • Prospects and limitations of the use of formal methods in the study of ampliative reasoning.

Examples of topics within the second perspective, are:

  • Varieties of evidence in causal reasoning.
  • Benefits and risks of abductive reasoning and inference to the best explanation.
  • Benefits and risks of inductive generalisations.
  • Drawing inferences based on scientific models.

Examples of topics within the third perspective, are:

  • Ampliative reasoning in the work of important early modern physical scientists , such as Copernicus, Newton, Galilei , …
  • Ampliative reasoning in the work of more recent influential scientists (19th and 20th century) both in the physical sciences and in the life sciences, the behavioural sciences and the social sciences.
  • Philosophical reflection on ampliative reasoning in the work of philosophers such as Mill, Whewell, Peirce, Popper, the logical empiricists, …

Keynote speakers: Chiara Ambrosio (University College London), Ulrike Hahn (Birkbeck – University of London and LMU Munich) & Jon Williamson (University of Kent – Canterbury).

News | Posted 30/01/2017
New Book: 'Abduction in Context: The Conjectural Dynamics of Scientific Reasoning' by Woosuk Park

Published by Springer, 2017

Publisher's description: 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.

Keywords: Abduction
Article in Journal | Posted 20/12/2016
Gaultier, Benoit (2016). On Peirce's Claim that Belief Should Be Banished from Science
In this article I examine the ground and validity of Peirce's claim that 'belief has no place in science'. Contrary to the general view, such a claim should not be understood as merely an overreaction to William James' thesis that there can be legitimate non-evidential reasons to believe. For Peirce, believing that something is the case implies, at least when believing takes a certain form, a kind of dogmatism incompatible with the proper conduct of inquiry towards truth. In this paper, I examine two ways in which Peirce argues for the 'no belief in science' thesis. I first discuss 'his claim that belief is incompatible with the 'Will to Learn'. Peirce argues that believing that p in such a way that one does not have any real doubts about whether p implies that one has a dogmatic attitude vis-à-vis possible future evidence that not- p; I claim that this anticipates the line of reasoning that supports Kripke's 'paradox of dogmatism'. After having indicated how they can both be resisted, I examine a second way- which seems to have been overlooked in Peirce scholarship-in which the founder of pragmatism argues for the 'no belief in science' thesis. Peirce often relates this thesis to his view of abduction and the nature of explanatory hypotheses: the conclusion of an abductive inference is not, and should not be, the belief that a given explanatory hypothesis H is true, probably true, or likely to be true, but rather that H is such that it is a possible explanation of fact F.
Article in Journal | Posted 03/08/2016
Stanley, Donald E., Campos, Daniel G. (2016). Selecting clinical diagnoses: logical strategies informed by experience
This article describes reasoning strategies used by clinicians in different diagnostic circumstances and how these modes of inquiry may allow further insight into the evaluation and treatment of patients. Specifically, it aims to make explicit the implicit logical considerations that guide a variety of strategies in the diagnostic process, as exemplified in specific clinical cases. It focuses, in particular, in strategies that clinicians use to move from a large set of possible diagnoses initially suggested by abductive inferences - the process of hypothesis generation that creates a diagnostic space - to a narrower set or even to a single 'best' diagnosis, where the criteria to determine what is 'best' may differ according to different strategies. Experienced clinicians should have a diversified kit of strategies - for example, Bayesian probability or inference to a lovely explanation - to select from among previously generated hypotheses, rather than rely on any one approach every time.
Article in Journal | Posted 16/05/2016
Shogimen, Takashi (2016). On the Elusiveness of Context
How can we decide the pertinent context in which a given object of historical study should be examined? This question has long puzzled historians. In the field of intellectual history, the Cambridge contextual school represented by Quentin Skinner triggered a series of methodological debates, in part relating to its opaque notion of context; critics have argued that a satisfactory answer to the question-how to recover a relevant context-has yet to be given. This article tackles why the question has continued to elude us. The article demonstrates that it is simply impossible to propose a practical set of guidelines on how to reconstruct a correct context because the identification of the relevant context is presupposed in the logical structure of inference in historical inquiries; identifying a relevant context is logically antecedent to the inquiry. In order to show this, the article deploys Charles Sanders Peirce's theory of inference. Thus the article submits that Skinner conceptualized his method as what Peirce called 'abduction,' which specifically seeks authorial intention as an explanatory hypothesis. This observation entails two ramifications in relation to the notion of context. One is that context in Skinner's methodology operates on two levels: heuristic and verificatory. Confusing the two functions of context has resulted in a futile debate over the difficulty of reconstructing context. The other ramification is that abduction always requires some sort of context in order to commence an inquiry, and that context is already known to the inquirer. Any attempt to reconstruct a context also requires yet another context to invoke, thus regressing into the search for relevant contexts ad infinitum. The elusiveness of context is thus inherent in the structure of our logical inference, which, according to Peirce, always begins with abduction.
Monograph | Posted 19/01/2016
Ojala, Juha (2009). Space in Musical Semiosis: An Abductive Theory of the Musical Composition Process
Article in Journal | Posted 22/12/2015
Mcauliffe, William H. (2015). How did Abduction Get Confused with Inference to the Best Explanation?
One of C. S. Peirce's most misunderstood ideas is his notion of abduction, the process of generating and selecting hypotheses to test. Contemporary philosophers of science have falsely cited Peirce's idea of abduction as a conceptual precursor to the modern notion of inference to the best explanation, a mode of inference used to decide which of competing explanations of a phenomenon to regard as true. Here, I examine how the misunderstanding originated by exploring influential discussions of inference to the best explanation in the works of Gilbert Harman, Bas van Fraassen, Paul Thagard, and Peter Lipton. While all these authors either failed to cite, or incorrectly cited, Peirce, I show that Thagard has noted a sense in which Peirce's early work provides a precursor to the modern notion of inference to the best explanation. However, a careful reading of Peirce shows that "abduction" has never been a proper synonym for "inference to the best explanation." So Peirce is not to blame for the misunderstanding. I conclude by defending the philosophic importance of abduction and demonstrating how applying Peirce's criteria for good abduction to debates in evolutionary theory can move the field forward.
Article in Journal | Posted 21/12/2015
Brogaard, Berit (1999). A Peircean Theory of Decision
Keywords: Decision, Abduction
Article in Journal | Posted 21/12/2015
Bjelland, Andrew G. (1998). Surprising Facts and Learning by Experience
Article in Edited Collection | Posted 18/12/2015
Lanigan, Richard L. (1995). From Enthymeme to Abduction: The Classical Law of Logic and the Postmodern Rule of Rhetoric. In: Recovering Pragmatism's Voice: The Classical Tradition, Rorty, and the Philosophy of Communication
Manuscript | Posted 22/08/2015
Peirce, Charles S. (1893). How to Reason: A Critick of Arguments. Advertisement [R]. MS [R] 398

A. MS., G-1893-5, pp. 1-11.
Only the last 4 paragraphs (pp. 10-11) published: Collected Papers, Vol. 8, pp. 278-279. Unpublished: a summary of CSP’s work in philosophy and logic which is more detailed than the one found in MS. 397. Other subjects dealt with but not published are the analysis of propositions, the statistical syllogism, the conception of quantity and continuity, and the realism-nominalism issue.

Manuscript | Posted 18/07/2015
Peirce, Charles S. (1903). C. S. Peirce's Lowell Lectures of 1903. Eighth Lecture, Abduction. Vol. 2. Pythagoras. MS [R] 476

Robin Catalogue:
A. MS., notebook, G-1903-2a, pp. 94-168.
Only p. 95 published: 7.182n7. Unpublished are several examples of abduction. Life of Pythagoras as affording the prime example. CSP treats historical topics about which there has been considerable debate, claiming that his abductions have been verified - contrary to the expectations of historians - on five occasions.

Encyclopedia Article | Posted 25/05/2015
West, Donna: "Recommendations as Imperative Propositions in the Operation of Abductive Reasoning: Peirce and Beyond"

Peirce’s explicit directive that abductions must “recommend a course of action” (1909: MS 637: 12) is in line with his increasing pragmatic emphasis. This recommendation is not generated consequent to extensive deliberation; rather it arises spontaneously (CP 5.181). This spontaneous reasoning emerges in a “flash” to preclude any contrivance from infecting the recommendation.
The present account proposes that it is recommendations for courses of action as imperatives which drive abductive reasoning: finding/recommending best practices, rather than engaging in interrogative strategies alone. It highlights how children’s event judgments acquire an action-based, social force, recommending a course of action for another. Diverse participation in social role-taking provides the instinct to correctly guess the conduct and thoughts of the participant-holders. Abductive endeavors require proposing retroductions of participant’s past habits (preferences/conduct). The insight to propose a recommendation for a viable course of action ultimately derives from self-participation as well as anticipation of others’ epistemic complexions toward expected event involvement.

News | Posted 22/02/2015
Explanation and Abduction: Logico-Philosophical Perspectives

Workshop in the “Logic, Reasoning, and Rationality” series

Keywords: Abduction

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