Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 180, Issue 3, pp 419–442 | Cite as

On the distinction between Peirce’s abduction and Lipton’s Inference to the best explanation

  • Daniel G. Campos
Article

Abstract

I argue against the tendency in the philosophy of science literature to link abduction to the inference to the best explanation (IBE), and in particular, to claim that Peircean abduction is a conceptual predecessor to IBE. This is not to discount either abduction or IBE. Rather the purpose of this paper is to clarify the relation between Peircean abduction and IBE in accounting for ampliative inference in science. This paper aims at a proper classification—not justification—of types of scientific reasoning. In particular, I claim that Peircean abduction is an in-depth account of the process of generating explanatory hypotheses, while IBE, at least in Peter Lipton’s thorough treatment, is a more encompassing account of the processes both of generating and of evaluating scientific hypotheses. There is then a two-fold problem with the claim that abduction is IBE. On the one hand, it conflates abduction and induction, which are two distinct forms of logical inference, with two distinct aims, as shown by Charles S. Peirce; on the other hand it lacks a clear sense of the full scope of IBE as an account of scientific inference.

Keywords

Hypothesis Abduction Inference to the best explanation Scientific reasoning Peirce 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aliseda A. (2006) Abductive reasoning: Logical investigations into discovery and explanation. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson D. (1986) The evolution of Peirce’s concept of abduction. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 22: 145–164Google Scholar
  3. Barnes E. (1995) Inference to the loveliest explanation. Synthese 103: 252–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burks A. (1946) Peirce’s theory of abduction. Philosophy of Science 13: 301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fann K. T. (1970) Peirce’s theory of abduction. Martinus Nijhoff, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  6. Frankfurt H. G. (1958) Peirce’s notion of abduction. The Journal of Philosophy 55: 593–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hanson N. R. (1965) Patterns of discovery: An inquiry into the conceptual foundations of science. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  8. Harman G. H. (1965) The inference to the best explanation. The Philosophical Review 74: 88–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hintikka J. (1998) What is abduction? The fundamental problem of contemporary epistemology. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 34(3): 503–533Google Scholar
  10. Hookway C. (1985) Peirce. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Kent B. (1997) The interconnectedness of Peirce’s diagrammatic thought. In: Houser N., Roberts D., Van Evra J. (eds) Studies in the logic of Charles Sanders Peirce. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, pp 445–459Google Scholar
  12. Kitcher P. (1981) Explanatory unification. Philosophy of Science 48: 507–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kuhn T. (1964) The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  14. Lipton P. (1991) Inference to the best explanation. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Lipton P. (2004) Inference to the best explanation: Second edition. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Minnameier G. (2004) Peirce-suit of Truth—Why inference to the best explanation and abduction ought not to be confused. Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Analytic Philosophy 60(1): 75–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Paavola S. (2006) Hansonian and Harmanian abduction as models of discovery. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20(1): 93–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Peirce, C. S. (1932–1958). Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, Vols. 1–8. In P. Weiss, C. Hartshorne, & A. W. Burk (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Abbreviated CP.)Google Scholar
  19. Peirce C.S. (1982) Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A chronological edition. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (Abbreviated W.)Google Scholar
  20. Peirce C.S. (1992) Reasoning and the logic of things. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (Abbreviated RLT.)Google Scholar
  21. Peirce C.S. (1998) The essential Peirce: Selected philosophical writings 2. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis (Abbreviated EP2.)Google Scholar
  22. Robin R. S. (1967) The annotated catalogue of the papers of Charles S. Peirce. University of Massachusetts Press, AmherstGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosenthal S. (2004) Peirce’s pragmatic account of perception: Issues and implications. In: Misak C. (eds) The Cambridge companion to Peirce. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp 193–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Santaella L. (1998) La evolución de los tres tipos de argumento: Abducción, inducción y deducción. Analogía Filosófica 12(1): 9–20Google Scholar
  25. Schaffner K. F. (1993) Discovery and explanation in biology and medicine. The Chicago University Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  26. Schurz G. (2008) Patterns of abduction. Synthese 164: 201–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Stjernfelt F. (2000) Diagrams as centerpiece of a Peircean epistemology. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 36(3): 357–392Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brooklyn CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations