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By Lorenzo Magnani

This quantity explores abductive cognition, a tremendous yet, a minimum of till the 3rd zone of the final century, overlooked subject in cognition. The publication goals at expanding wisdom approximately inventive and specialist inferences. The research of those high-levelmethods of abductive reasoning is located on the crossroads of philosophy, common sense, epistemology, synthetic intelligence, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, animal cognition and evolutionary theories; that's, on the middle of cognitive technology. Philosophers of technology within the 20th century have frequently exclusive among the inferential tactics lively within the good judgment of discovery and those lively within the good judgment of justification. such a lot have concluded that no common sense of inventive approaches exists and, in addition, rational version of discovery is most unlikely. in brief, medical inventive inferences are irrational and there's no “reasoning” to hypotheses. nonetheless, a little research within the quarter of synthetic intelligence has proven that equipment for discovery may be stumbled on which are computationally sufficient for rediscovering – or studying for the 1st time – empirical or theoretical legislation and theorems.

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The observation is anomalous because it contradicts the expectation that the system involved is working according to specification. This types of deductive model go beyond the mere treatment of selective abduction in terms of preferred explanations and include the role of those components whose abnormality makes the observation (no longer anomalous) consistent with the description of the system [Boutilier and Becher, 1995; Magnani, 2001a]. Without doubt the solution given by Boutilier and Becher furnishes a more satisfying qualitative account of the choice among competing explanations than G¨ardenfors’ in terms of “epistemic entrenchment”37 which tries to capture the idea of an ordering of beliefs according to our willingness to withdraw them when 36 37 Please distinguish here the technical use of the attribute model-based from the epistemologicalcognitive one I am introducing in this chapter.

23 Some authors stress that abduction and induction derive from a common source, the hypothetical or non-deductive reasoning, others emphasize the various aspects that distinguish them, that is how specifically abduction and induction extend our knowledge. In other cases it is affirmed that all non-deductive reasoning is of the same type, which is called induction [Flach and Kakas, 2000a]. Further classifications of inductive arguments have been proposed, such as arguments based on samples, (that is inductive generalizations), arguments from analogy, and statistical syllogisms [Salmon, 1990].

As Thagard has pointed out [1988, p. 53] the question was controversial in Peirce’s writings too. 624]. 776]. Thagard ascribes to the editors of Peirce’s work the responsibility for having clouded this change in his thinking by including discussions of hypothesis under the heading of “Abduction”, “[. . ] obscuring his shift from the belief that inference to an explanatory hypothesis can be a kind of justification to the weaker view that it is only a form of discovery”. The need for a methodological criterion of justification is caused by the fact that – at least in the Peircean framework – an abduced hypothesis that explains a certain puzzling fact should not be accepted 30 A more detailed description of abductive reasoning in diagnosis (and in “medical” diagnosis) is provided in my book [Magnani, 2001b, chapter four] and in [Gabbay and Woods, 2005, chapter six].

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