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Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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29 October 2009, Logic and Cognition Seminar, Alistair Isaac

Speaker: Alistair Isaac
Title: Modeling Abduction in Perception and Science
Date: Thursday 29 October 2009
Time: 16:00-18:00
Location: Room A.106, Science Park 904, Amsterdam

Peirce first identified abduction as a type of inference distinct from induction and deduction. He claimed that abduction permeates every aspect of human thought, from low-level perception to scientific theory choice. In contemporary philosophy, abduction is frequently considered only in the latter capacity, as a form of high-level scientific reasoning. In A.I., abduction is closely associated with the frame problem, the problem of how to determine relevance. Again, however, philosophers tend to identify this as a problem only for high-level reasoning. Fodor, for example, argues that low-level perceptual processes are encapsulated, and thus immune to the challenges of holistic reasoning, like abduction. In this talk I provide an overview of several different perspectives on abduction. I argue that the fundamental stumbling block for formal models of abduction is its inherently creative character. I conclude with a defence of Peirce’s original insight, arguing that empirical research on perception is a field from which models of abduction in other domains (such as scientific reasoning) can and should draw inspiration.

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Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.