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Deduction vs Induction vs Abduction

Klaus Bruhn Jensen


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Deduction, induction, and abduction are three basic forms of inference that inform the methodologies of communication research as well as other fields and disciplines. Whereas the most familiar forms are inference from a general principle or law to individual instances (deduction), or from several instances to a law (induction), abduction is an equally important constituent of scholarship, serving to identify possible explanations for a set of observations. Different traditions of communication research can be seen to rely on distinctive variants and combinations of deduction, induction, and abduction. Aristotle had identified abduction as a type of inference; it was reintroduced in modern philosophy by Charles Sanders Peirce in an 1878 article. An inference can be said to consist of three components – a rule which, when applied to a single case, produces a result or conclusion. These components yield three possible combinations (adapted from Peirce 1992 ): DEDUCTION Rule . All the beans from this bag are white. Case . These beans are from this bag. Result . These beans are white. INDUCTION Case . These beans are from this bag. Result . These beans are white. Rule . All the beans from this bag are white. ABDUCTION Result . These beans are white. Rule . All the beans from this bag are white. Case . These beans are from this bag. Strictly speaking, only the deduction is a valid ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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