Philosophy Word of the Day – Abduction

A heuristic procedure that reasons inductively from available empirical evidence to the discovery of the probable hypotheses that would best explain its occurrence. Both Peirce and Reichenbach developed detailed theories about the invention of such hypotheses in what is sometimes called “the logic of discovery.” The success of this enterprise may founder on the underdetermination of incompatible hypotheses. When each of several alternative accounts explains the facts with equal success, there is no ground for choosing among them.

(Via Philosophical Dictionary)

Abduction is also referred to as “inference to the best explanation.”  Some arguments for God’s existence, such as certain design arguments, make use of this type of reasoning, and infer that purposeful design is a superior explanation to necessity or chance.

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