Abductive Reasoning - Explained
What is Abductive Reasoning?
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Table of ContentsWhat is Abductive Reasoning?How does Abductive Reasoning Work?Academic Research for Abductive Reasoning
What is Abductive Reasoning?
The abductive reasoning method is the logical process of making observations and seeking the hypothesis that would best fit or explain those observations. Simply put, a list of incomplete observations is analyzed to create the best prediction (hypothesis to explain the observation).
Abductive reasoning is an integral part of the scientific process and the formation of hypotheses. Abductive Reasoning is unique from Deductive and Inductive Reasoning.
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How does Abductive Reasoning Work?
Abductive reasoning begins as an incomplete observation and results in a hypothesis to explain the correlation of the observations.
In practical terms it is also known as Retroductive Reasoning, since the reasoning process goes from consequence to antecedent.
In contrast to deductive reasoning, abductive reasoning yields a result that is plausible without being verified.
Deductive reasoning seeks to verify an observation based upon facts or universal understandings.
With abductive reasoning, there remains a certain level of doubt.
Steps in Abductive Reasoning Process
An abductive reasoning process is as follows:
- starts from observing or exploring certain (seemingly unrelated) facts, which...
- lead (via a hunch, intuition) to infer a statement that serves as a hypothesis, which...
- if that hypothesis would result to be plausible, in respect to the observed facts, would then be considered an explanation of those facts.
This process yields to an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE).
Forms of Abductive Reasoning
Science recognizes the following four commonly used forms of abductive reasoning:
- Logic-Based Abduction - This means deriving multiple hypotheses from a set of observations and using logic to pick the best or more probable one.
- Set Cover Abduction - This means deriving a group of hypotheses whose effect contains all observed manifestations of the situation.
- Abductive Validation (successive approximation) - A hypothesis is valid if it is a simple and elegant explanation of largely unknown data or information.
- Subjective LogicAbduction - This is a subcategory of abductive validation. It entails assigning subjective opinion as a variable in a probabilistic determination.