Skip to main content

Darwin’s Ideas as Epitomes of Abductive Reasoning in the Teaching of School Scientific Explanation and Argumentation

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
Handbook of Abductive Cognition


In this chapter, it is proposed that science teachers can foster students’ construction of model-based scientific explanations and argumentations through the intentional use of abductive reasoning. This kind of reasoning could be introduced in the science curriculum as a central “mode of thinking” when discussing the scientific methodology. School scientific argumentation is here understood as an “explanation of a scientific explanation,” where the connection between a natural phenomenon under scrutiny and a theoretical model (semantically conceived) to account for it is made explicit. It is contended that, in many cases of acknowledged relevance for school science, the “ascent” from evidence to model can be characterized as abduction (either in a broad or in a narrow sense). Accordingly, a suggestion is here advanced to teach the specific mechanics of the participation of abductive inferences in explanation and argumentation in (mainly secondary or tertiary) science classes through the use of paradigmatic cases (“epitomes”) taken from the history of science. Along this line, selected excerpts from Charles Darwin's book, On the Origin of Species, (Darwin (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life, 1st edn. John Murray, London), are employed as such epitomes for biology classes. Following the proposals of several authors, it is shown how a number of theoretical propositions contained in that book can be reconstructed as the conclusions from pieces of abductive reasoning that in many cases use intermediary analogies. Together with the analysis of the examples, the possible formative value of such “abductive reconstructions” for science education is explicated.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Agustín Adúriz-Bravo .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Adúriz-Bravo, A., González Galli, L. (2022). Darwin’s Ideas as Epitomes of Abductive Reasoning in the Teaching of School Scientific Explanation and Argumentation. In: Magnani, L. (eds) Handbook of Abductive Cognition. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-68436-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-68436-5

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Intelligent Technologies and RoboticsReference Module Computer Science and Engineering

Publish with us

Policies and ethics