Reorienting the Logic of Abduction

  • John WoodsEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


Abduction, still a comparatively neglected kind of premiss-conclusion reasoning, gives rise to the questions I want to consider here. One is whether abduction’s epistemic peculiarities can be accommodated happily in the mainline philosophical theories of knowledge. The other is whether abduction provides any reason to question the assumption that the goodness of drawing a conclusion from premisses depends on an underlying relation of logical consequence. My answer each time is no. I will spend most of my time on the first. Much of what I’ll say about the second is a promissory note.


Hypothesis Selection Positive Basis Abductive Reasoning Closed World Assumption Causal Response 
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causal response



I would know a good deal less than I presently do about abduction without stimulating instruction from Dov Gabbay, Lorenzo Magnani, Atocha Aliseda, Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen, Peter Bruza, Woosuk Park, Douglas Niño and more recently – especially in relation to sections 11 and 12 – Madeleine Ransom. To all my warmest thanks. My student Frank Hong has also pitched in with astute suggestions; equal gratitude to him. For technical support and everything else that matters, Carol Woods is my go-to gal. Without whom not.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Philosophy, Vancouver CampusUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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