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"What is the function of abductive inference? For [Charles Sanders] Peirce it is 'the process of forming an explanatory hypothesis. It is the only logical operation which introduces any new idea; for induction does nothing but determine a value, and deduction merely evolves the necessary consequences of a pure hypothesis. Deduction proves that something must be; induction shows that something actually is operative; abduction merely suggests that something may be' (CP 5.171, cf 1991a, p.333). Abduction may thus be conceived of as a principle that allows us to reconstruct how conceptual order is achieved through the imposition of a hypothesis (in the form of a minimal theory, an idea, a rule or a law–like hypothesis) – which inaugurates constructivist thinking. Here I can only hint at the great variability of this schema; it enables us to bridge the traditional gap between the arts and the sciences because it can be used as a model both of explanation and of understanding."
(Hans Rudi Fischer, pp. 368, 2001)
Peirce, Charles Sanders (CP). (1931–35, 1958) "Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce". Bd. I–VI (1931–34) ed by Ch. Hartshorne and P. Weiss. Vol. VII–VIII (1958) ed. By A.W. Burks. Cambridge, Massachusetts/London.
Peirce, Charles Sanders (1991a), Naturordnung und Zeichenprozeß. Schriften über Semiotik und Naturphilosophie. Hrsg. und eingeleitet von Helmut Pape. Frankfurt/Main, Suhrkamp.
Foundations of Science, special issue on "The Impact of Radical Constructivism on Science", edited by A. Riegler, 2001, vol. 6, no.4: 361–383. "Abductive Reasoning as a Way of Worldmaking", Hans Rudi Fischer, Heidelberger Institut für systemische Forschung und Therapie, Kussmaulstr. 10, D–69120 Heidelberg, Germany.