Charles S. Peirce’s Theory of Abduction and the Aristotelian Enthymeme From Signs

  • Manfred Kraus
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 8)


There is hardly any feature in Charles S. Peirce’s thinking that is more closely associated with his name, and certainly none that he was more proud of himself, than his alleged discovery of a new type or mode of logical reasoning commonly referred to as abduction. In a retrospective note written in 1902 Peirce in this respect even declared himself “an explorer upon untrodden ground.” (CP 2.102)2 Whether or not this boasting judgment was indeed justified, we shall have to see.


Deductive Reasoning Abductive Inference Semiotic Theory Minor Premise Valid Syllogism 
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a) Relevant Editions of Peirce’s Works

  1. CP = Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. Vol. I-VI, ed. Ch. Hartshorne, P. Weiss. Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard UP 1931-1934. Vol. VII-VIII, ed. A.W. Burks, Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard UP 1958Google Scholar
  2. NEM = The New Elements of Mathematics, by C.S. Peirce, ed. C. Eisele. Vol. I-IV. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech Press 1976Google Scholar
  3. W = Writings of Charles Sanders Peirce. A Chronological Edition, ed. M.H. Fisch & C.J.W. Kloesel. Vol. I-VI. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana UP 1982-2000Google Scholar
  4. CCL = Reasoning and the Logic of Things. The Cambridge Conference Lectures of 1898, ed. K.L. Keiner. Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard UP 1992Google Scholar
  5. PW = Semiotics and Significs. The Correspondence between Charles S. Peirce and Victoria Lady Welby ed. CS. Hardwick. Bloomington/London: Indiana UP 1977Google Scholar
  6. PLZ = Phänomen und Logik der Zeichen, hg. und übs. von H. Pape. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 1983Google Scholar

b) Other references

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  • Manfred Kraus

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