restricted access Guessing and Abduction
Abstract

Despite the great importance placed upon the operation of abduction as an inferential process, few studies have been devoted specifically to the process of guessing as a piece of the abduction puzzle. This is surprising since Charles Peirce indicated that guessing is a fundamental part of the abductive process. Most literature concerning Peirce’s conception of abduction mentions guessing only in passing; what guessing actually is, especially with regard to the abductive process, is left vague at best, and this leaves a blind spot in the literature so that the broader conception of abduction remains unclear. In response to this, I explain the role of guessing in Peirce’s concept of abduction, placing the operation of guessing within the wider scope of the process of inquiry. I consider the guessing process as a deliberate and creative part of abduction, as well as alternative claims that have led to neglect of guessing as a creative operation. This analysis includes consideration of ethical, esthetic, and economic aspects of the guessing process as described by Peirce. As a specific example to elucidate how guessing functions within a particular scientific do¬main, I utilize the index case of AIDS. My argument sets the stage for further work to be done concerning the function of guessing as it pertains to scientific inquiry more generally.


pdf