Perception, Abduction, and Tacit Inference

  • Rico Hermkes
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 27)


The aim of this paper is to develop an inferential conception of perception. For establishing such a conception, we turned to Peirce, who had been first in systematically linking perception to abductive inferences. However, he did not conceive perception as abduction, because of the impossibility for conscious control. Thus, Peirce spoke of an “extreme case of abduction”. An essential question is, if we can succeed in developing a conception that incorporates tacit inferences. Peirce’s semiotic conception as well as Polanyi’s theory of implicit knowledge work fairly well as a theoretical starting point. By appointing equifunctionality between non-symbolic sign activity and applying logical rules it is possible that inferences can be also realized unconsciously. Furthermore, we point out that feelings may be regarded as indices and illustrate how affirmative judgements can be realized using such indices for judging the validity of an inference. The “Predictive Processing-Approach” seems suitable for finalizing the picture. According to this approach perceptions may be conceived as an inferential triad rather than mere abductive inferences. The upshot is that it enables us to extend it to other forms of unconscious cognition and intuition.


Cognitive Level Implicit Knowledge Perceptual Judgement Predictive Processing Predictive Code 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Business Ethics and Business EducationGoethe University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurt am MainGermany

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