more from Charles Sanders Peirce

Single Idea 14790

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation]

Full Idea

The first starting of a hypothesis and the entertaining of it …is an inferential step which I propose to call 'abduction'. This will include a preference for any one hypothesis over others which would equally explain the facts.

Gist of Idea

'Abduction' is beginning a hypothesis, particularly if it includes preference of one explanation over others


Charles Sanders Peirce (Abduction and Induction [1901], I)

Book Reference

Peirce,Charles Sanders: 'Philosophical Writings of Peirce', ed/tr. Buchler,Justus [Dover 1940], p.151

A Reaction

I take there to be no more important function within human thought than the procedure by which we give preference to one particular explanation. It only makes sense, I think, if we take it as part of a coherence theory of justification.

Related Ideas

Idea 14791 Abduction involves original suggestions, and not just the testing involved in induction [Peirce]

Idea 17685 Induction aims at 'all Fs', but abduction aims at hidden or theoretical entities [Armstrong]