Abduction

Firtness of Thirdness in the Third Correlate originates Abduction: an ampliative inference that produces a hypothesis, conjecture or supposition based on a qualitative fact (a “feeling”) or a novelty (some unusual fact). According to Peirce, Abduction is a kind of “instinct of reason”, that is born from the “hope that there is sufficient affinity between the reasoner’s mind and nature’s to render guessing not altogether hopeless” (CP 1.121). This affinity can be of the nature of resemblance or contiguity. Abduction is the weakest and most fallible of all forms of inferences, but also the only one capable of leading us to true discoveries. In fact, hints, presages, hunches, divinations, instinct and hypotheses are all types of Abductions. In addition, as we have already seen, the perceptual judgment has an abductive nature too.