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  • © 2022

Handbook of Abductive Cognition


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  • The first comprehensive reference guide to the interdisciplinary field of abductive cognition

  • Offers a logical, cognitive, epistemological, and philosophical analysis of abductive reasoning

  • Covers hypothetical, creative, diagnostic, model-based and adversarial inferences

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Table of contents (18 entries)

About this book

This Handbook offers the first comprehensive reference guide to the interdisciplinary field of abductive cognition, providing readers with extensive information on the process of reasoning to hypotheses in humans, animals, and in computational machines. It highlights the role of abduction in both theory practice: in generating and testing hypotheses and explanatory functions for various purposes and as an educational device. It merges logical, cognitive, epistemological and philosophical perspectives with more practical needs relating to the application of abduction across various disciplines and practices, such as in diagnosis, creative reasoning, scientific discovery, diagrammatic and ignorance-based cognition, and adversarial strategies. It also discusses the inferential role of models in hypothetical reasoning, abduction and creativity, including the process of development, implementation and manipulation for different scientific and technological purposes. Written by a group of internationally renowned experts in philosophy, logic, general epistemology, mathematics, cognitive, and computer science, as well as life sciences, engineering, architecture, and economics, the Handbook of Abductive Cognition offers a unique reference guide for readers approaching the process of reasoning to hypotheses from different perspectives and for various theoretical and practical purposes. Numerous diagrams, schemes and other visual representations are included to promote a better understanding of the relevant concepts and to make concepts highly accessible to an audience of scholars and students with different scientific backgrounds.


  • Abductive Cognition
  • Hypothetical Reasoning
  • Inferential Creative Processes
  • Creativity
  • Diagnosis
  • Diagrams
  • Design
  • Computational Abduction
  • Hypothetical Cognition
  • Adversarial Cognition
  • Inferential Diagrammatic Processes
  • Logic of Abduction
  • Model-based Abductive Reasoning
  • Abduction in Design
  • Abduction in Education
  • Abduction in Economics
  • Abduction in Human Sciences
  • Philosophy of Abduction
  • Abduction and Cognitive Science
  • Abduction and Logic

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Humanities, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

    Lorenzo Magnani

About the editor

Lorenzo Magnani, Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook, philosopher, epistemologist, and cognitive scientist, serves as both a Professor of Philosophy of Science and as the Director of the Computational Philosophy Laboratory, at the University of Pavia, in Italy. During his career, he was a visiting researcher at Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Institute of Techology in USA, and at McGill University and The University of Waterloo in Canada. He was also a Visiting Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, City University of New York, and at Sun Yat-sen University, China. Member of the International Academy for the Philosophy of the Sciences (AIPS) from 2015, Professor Magnani also received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Senate of the Ştefan cel Mare University, Suceava, Romania. In 2010, he received an award from Sun Yat-sen University, China,  acknowledging his contributions to the areas of philosophy, philosophy of science, logic, and cognitive science. He published numerous books such as:  Abduction, Reason, and Science (Springer, 2001), which has become a reference work in the field of research on human cognition; Morality in a Technological WorldKnowledge as Duty (Cambridge University Press, 2007), where a philosophical and cognitive theory of the relationships between ethics and technology is developed in a naturalistic perspective; Abductive Cognition. The Epistemological and Eco-Cognitive Dimensions of Hypothetical Reasoning (Springer, 2009), and Understanding Violence. The Intertwining of Morality, Religion, and Violence: A Philosophical Stance (Springer, 2011). Since 2011, he has been serving as editor-in-chief of the Springer book series “Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics (SAPERE)”. In 2017, he published The Abductive Structure of Scientific Creativity. An Essay on the Ecology of Cognition (Springer), adding a novel piece of knowledge  to his numerous achievements in the field of abductive cognition.  Professor Magnani is also the founder, together with Nancy J. Nersessian and Paul Thagard, and organisers of the Model-Based Reasoning (MBR) conference series, started in 1998. The most recent proceedings of this conference series have been published by Springer. Last but not least, Professor Magnani is the co-editor, together with Tommaso Bertolotti, of the Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science (2017). 

Editorial Board:

Akinori Abe, Chiba University, Faculty of Letters, Inageku, Chiba, Japan

Atocha Aliseda, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Institute for Philosophical Research, Mexico City, Mexico

Mattia Andreoletti, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Philosophy, Milano, Italy

Selene Arfini, University of Pavia, Department of Humanities – Philosophy Section, Pavia, Italy

Gianluca Caterina, Endicott College, Beverly, MA, USA

Gustavo Cevolani, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Lucca, Italy

Daniele Chiffi, Politecnico di Milano, DAStU, Milano, Italy

Samuel Forsythe, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Rocco Gangle, Endicott College, Beverly, MA, USA

Ehud Kroll, ORT Braude College, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Karmiel, Israel

Sami Paavola, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Helsinki, Finland

Woosuk Park, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Daejeon, S. Korea

Ferdinand Rivera, San Jose State University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, San Jose, CA, USA

Alger Sans Pinillos, University of Pavia, Department of Humanities – Philosophy Section, Pavia, Italy

Fernando Tohmé, Universidad Nacional del Sur, INMABB-UNS-CONICET, Dpto. de Economía, Bahía Blanca, Argentina

Bibliographic Information