Article ID: CBB001211461

On the Distinction between Peirce's Abduction and Lipton's Inference to the Best Explanation (2011)


Campos, Daniel G. (Author)

Volume: 180, no. 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 419-442

I argue against the tendency in the philosophy of science literature to link abduction to the inference to the best explanation (IBE), and in particular, to claim that Peircean abduction is a conceptual predecessor to IBE. This is not to discount either abduction or IBE. Rather the purpose of this paper is to clarify the relation between Peircean abduction and IBE in accounting for ampliative inference in science. This paper aims at a proper classification---not justification---of types of scientific reasoning. In particular, I claim that Peircean abduction is an in-depth account of the process of generating explanatory hypotheses, while IBE, at least in Peter Lipton's thorough treatment, is a more encompassing account of the processes both of generating and of evaluating scientific hypotheses. There is then a two-fold problem with the claim that abduction is IBE. On the one hand, it conflates abduction and induction, which are two distinct forms of logical inference, with two distinct aims, as shown by Charles S. Peirce; on the other hand it lacks a clear sense of the full scope of IBE as an account of scientific inference.

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Authors & Contributors
Bellucci, Francesco
Brady, Geraldine
Weatherson, Brian
Snyder, Laura J.
Martin, Christopher J.
Pihlström, Sami
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Perspectives on Science
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Journal of the History of Ideas
Cambridge University Press
Philosophy of science
History of philosophy of science
Peirce, Charles Sanders
Frege, Gottlob
Löwenheim, Leopold
Skolem, Thoralf Albert
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Whewell, William
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
13th century
18th century
United States
Massachusetts (U.S.)

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