Peirce’s Theory of Abduction

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On this understanding, abduction could still be thought of as being part of the context of discovery.

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Abductive reasoning

It would work as a kind of selection function, or filter, determining which of the hypotheses that have been conceived in the stage of discovery are to pass to the next stage and be subjected to empirical testing. The selection criterion is that there must be a reason to suspect that the hypothesis is true, and we will have such a reason if the hypothesis makes whichever observed facts we are interested in explaining a matter of course. Nevertheless, Frankfurt ultimately rejects this proposal as well.

Given, he says, that there may be infinitely many hypotheses that account for a given fact or set of facts—which Peirce acknowledged—it can hardly be a sufficient condition for the adoption of a hypothesis in the above sense that its truth would make that fact or set of facts a matter of course. At a minimum, abduction would not seem to be of much use as a selection function. One may doubt whether this is a valid objection, however.

But virtually no philosopher of science nowadays holds that entailment is sufficient for explanation. Some satisfactory explanations might still be better than others, and there might even be a unique best one.

This idea is crucial in all recent thinking about abduction. The surprising fact, C , is observed. But if A were true, C would be a matter of course. Problems with Peirce's Concept of Abduction. Michael Hoffmann - - Foundations of Science 4 3: Peirce's Theory of Abduction.

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Fann - - The Hague: From Ugly Duckling to Swan: Peirce, Abduction, and the Pursuit of Scientific Theories. McKaughan - - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 3: A Neurocomputational Approach to Abduction.

Burton - - Minds and Machines 9 2: Gerhard Minnameier - - Erkenntnis 60 1: Sami Paavola - - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 47 2: Added to PP index Total downloads 51 , of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 2 , of 2,, How can I increase my downloads? Sign in to use this feature. This article has no associated abstract. No keywords specified fix it.


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