Gerhard Minnameier

The logic of abduction, deduction, and induction, and a taxonomy of inferential reasoning

The Peircean concept of “abduction” has been differentiated into different forms and made fruitful in a variety of contexts. However, the very notion of abduction still seems to be in need of clarification. In order to achieve this, I will take very seriously Peirce’s claims that (1) there are only three kinds of reasoning, i.e. abduction, deduction, and induction, and that (2) these are mutually distinct. First, I will try to explicate the fundamental features of the three inferences, as I see them. After this, I propose several extensions: One is to take up Peirce’s idea of “theorematic deduction”, interpret it in terms of inverse deduction and transfer this to conceptualize inverse abduction and inverse induction. Another one is to differentiate cognitive levels (from perception to high-level theorizing), and finally I shall also consider different domains of reasoning (explanatory and non-explanatory).

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