Seeing Problems, Seeing Solutions. Abduction and Diagrammatic Reasoning in a Theory of Scientific Discovery

Title: Seeing Problems, Seeing Solutions. Abduction and Diagrammatic Reasoning in a Theory of Scientific Discovery
Format: Chapter
Publication Date: 2007
Description: For Philosopher's Index: This paper sketches a theory of scientific discovery that is based on two concepts developed by Charles Peirce: abduction and diagrammatic reasoning. Both are problematic. While “abduction” describes the process of creating a new idea, it does neither explain how this process is possible, nor is it precisely enough defined to distinguish different forms of creating new ideas. “Diagrammatic reasoning,” by contrast, is limited to mathematics. The theory sketched here develops an extended version of diagrammatic reasoning as a general theory of scientific discovery in which eight different forms of abduction play a central role. This paper sketches a theory of scientific discoveries that is mainly based on two concepts that Charles Peirce developed: abduction and diagrammatic reasoning. Both are problematic. While “abduction” describes the process of creating a new idea, it does not, on the one hand, explain how this process is possible and, on the other, is not precisely enough defined to distinguish different forms of creating new ideas. “Diagrammatic reasoning,” the process of constructing relational representations of knowledge areas, experimenting with them, and observing the results, can be interpreted, on the one hand, as a methodology to describe the possibility of discoveries, but its focus is limited to mathematics. The theory sketched here develops an extended version of diagrammatic reasoning as a general theory of scientific discoveries in which eight different forms of abduction play a central role.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Abduction and the Process of Scientific Discovery. 213 - 236. CFCUL/Publidisa.
Related Departments:
  • School of Public Policy