Abduction, Reason and Science

Processes of Discovery and Explanation

  • Lorenzo Magnani

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 1-14
  3. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 15-52
  4. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 53-69
  5. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 71-95
  6. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 97-124
  7. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 125-144
  8. Lorenzo Magnani
    Pages 145-169
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 171-205

About this book


This volume explores abduction (inference to explanatory hypotheses), an important but neglected topic in scientific reasoning. My aim is to inte­ grate philosophical, cognitive, and computational issues, while also discuss­ ing some cases of reasoning in science and medicine. The main thesis is that abduction is a significant kind of scientific reasoning, helpful in delineating the first principles of a new theory of science. The status of abduction is very controversial. When dealing with abduc­ tive reasoning misinterpretations and equivocations are common. What are the differences between abduction and induction? What are the differences between abduction and the well-known hypothetico-deductive method? What did Peirce mean when he considered abduction a kind of inference? Does abduction involve only the generation of hypotheses or their evaluation too? Are the criteria for the best explanation in abductive reasoning epis­ temic, or pragmatic, or both? How many kinds of abduction are there? The book aims to increase knowledge about creative and expert infer­ ences. The study of these high-level methods of abductive reasoning is situ­ ated at the crossroads of philosophy, epistemology, artificial intel1igence, cognitive psychology, and logic; that is, at the heart of cognitive science. Philosophers of science in the twentieth century have traditionally distin­ guished between the inferential processes active in the logic of discovery and the ones active in logic of justification.


Charles Sanders Peirce artificial intelligence cognitive science intelligence logic mind probability science

Authors and affiliations

  • Lorenzo Magnani
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York 2001
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4613-4637-1
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4419-8562-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site