Abduction − the context of discovery + underdetermination = inference to the best explanation

Mousa Mohammadian
2019 Synthese  
This is a pre-print of an article published in Synthese. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi. Abstract The relationship between Peircean abduction and the modern notion of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a matter of dispute. Some philosophers, such as Harman (1965) and Lipton (1991 Lipton ( , p. 58, 2004, claim that abduction and IBE are virtually the same. Others, however, hold that they are quite different (Hintikka 1998; Minnameier 2004) and there
more » ... no link between them (Campos 2009). In this paper, I argue that neither of these views is correct. I show that abduction and IBE have important similarities as well as differences. Moreover, by bringing a historical perspective to the study of the relationship between abduction and IBE-a perspective that is lacking in the literature-I show that their differences can be well understood in terms of two historic developments in the history of philosophy of science: first, Reichenbach's distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification-and the consequent jettisoning of the context of discovery from philosophy of science-and second, underdetermination of theory by data.
doi:10.1007/s11229-019-02337-z fatcat:vz666str2fhj5j7syqi7vpweke