# Abductive Argument

An Abductive Argument is a logic argument based on how well the conclusion matches the prior background knowledge (relative to other possible conclusions).

**AKA:**Abductive Inference, Inference to the Best Explanation.**Context:**- It can (often) be the outcome of an Abductive Reasoning Process.
- It can (often) be used in scientific research to form hypotheses based on observed data.
- It can involve generating the most plausible explanation for a set of observations.
- It can highlight the process of forming initial hypotheses that are then tested and refined.
- It can be applied in everyday reasoning, where people often infer causes from effects.
- It can emphasize the provisional nature of its conclusions, which are subject to revision as new evidence emerges.
- It can be related to the concept of Occam's Razor, where the simplest explanation is preferred.
- ...

**Example(s):**- Premise:
*All beings are mortal*; Premise:*Socrates is mortal*; Logic Operation:*Affirming the Consequent*; Conclusion:*Socrates is a being*. - an Analogical Argument.
- …

- Premise:
**Counter-Example(s):**- an Inductive Argument, from inductive inference.
- a Deductive Argument, from deductive inference.

**See:**Invalid Deductive Argument, Closed World Assumption, Hypothesis Generation

## References

### 2012

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning
**Abduction**is a form of logical inference that goes from data description of something to a hypothesis that accounts for the data. The term was first introduced by the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) as "guessing".^{[1]}Peirce said that to*abduce*a hypothetical explanation [math]\displaystyle{ a }[/math] from an observed surprising circumstance [math]\displaystyle{ b }[/math] is to surmise that [math]\displaystyle{ a }[/math] may be true because then [math]\displaystyle{ b }[/math] would be a matter of course.^{[2]}Thus, to abduce [math]\displaystyle{ a }[/math] from [math]\displaystyle{ b }[/math] involves determining that [math]\displaystyle{ a }[/math] is sufficient (or nearly sufficient), but not necessary, for [math]\displaystyle{ b }[/math].For example,

*the lawn is wet*. But if*it rained last night*, then it would be unsurprising that*the lawn is wet*. Therefore, by abductive reasoning, the possibility that*it rained last night*is reasonable. (But note that Peirce did not remain convinced that a single logical form covers all abduction.)^{[3]}Peirce argues that good abductive reasoning from

*P*to*Q*involves not simply a determination that, e.g.,*Q*is sufficient for*P*, but also that*Q*is among the most economical explanations for*P*. Simplification and economy are what call for the 'leap' of abduction.^{[4]}

- ↑ Peirce, C. S.
- "On the Logic of drawing History from Ancient Documents especially from Testimonies" (1901),
*Collected Papers*v. 7, paragraph 219. - "PAP" ["Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmatism"], MS 293 c. 1906,
*New Elements of Mathematics*v. 4, pp. 319-320. - A Letter to F. A. Woods (1913),
*Collected Papers*v. 8, paragraphs 385-388.

*Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms*. - "On the Logic of drawing History from Ancient Documents especially from Testimonies" (1901),
- ↑ Peirce, C. S. (1903), Harvard lectures on pragmatism,
*Collected Papers*v. 5, paragraphs 188–189. - ↑ A Letter to J. H. Kehler (1911),
*New Elements of Mathemaatics*v. 3, pp. 203–4, see under "Retroduction" at*Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms*. - ↑ Peirce, C.S. (1902), application to the Carnegie Institution, see MS L75.329-330, from Draft D of Memoir 27: Template:Quote

### 2009

- http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/analog.htm
- QUOTE: Abduction. The operation of guessing or forming an initial hypothesis is what Peirce called abduction. Given an assertion q and an axiom of the form p implies q, the guess that p is a likely cause or explanation for q is an act of abduction. The operation of guessing p uses the least constrained version of analogy, in which some parts of the matching graphs may be more generalized while other parts are more specialized.

### 2001

- (Magnani, 2001) ⇒ L. Magnani. (2001). “Abduction, Reason, and Science: Processes of Discovery and Explanation".
*Kluwer Academic Plenum Publishers, New York, 2001*. xvii þ 205 pages. Hard cover, ISBN 0-306-46514-0.

### 2000

- (Bunt & Black, 2000) ⇒ H. Bunt, and W. Black. (2000). “Abduction, Belief and Context in Dialogue: Studies in Computational Pragmatics"
*(Natural Language Processing, 1.) John Benjamins, Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 2000*. vi þ 471 pages. Hard cover, ISBN 90-272-4983-0 (Europe),

1-58619-794-2 (U.S.)

### 1994

- (Josephson & Josephson, 1994) ⇒ J.R. Josephson, and H.G. Josephson. (1994). “Abductive Inference: Computation, Philosophy, Technology.” Cambridge University Press, ISBN:0-521-43461-0

### 1988

- (Hobbs et al., 1988) ⇒ Jerry R. Hobbs, Mark Stickel, Paul Martin, and Douglas Edwards. (1988). “Interpretation as Abduction.” In: Proceedings of the 26th annual meeting on Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 1988).
- QUOTE: Abductive inference is inference to the best explanation.