Sherlock Holmes's Method: Abduction

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI:
Sherlock Holmes's Method: Abduction

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This chapter provides a discussion on abductions. A series of successful inferences presented here are reminiscent of Conan Doyle's great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Some psychologists argue that everyday reasoning depends on a tractable procedure, because humans dream up explanatory hypotheses so readily. Abduction relies on a source of explanations: analogy. Proofs are explained in this chapter by outlining their general principles. Actions are also explored by giving reasons for them. Most explanations in life do seem to depend on causal relations.

Keywords: abduction; Sherlock Holmes; inferences; reasoning; analogy; causal relations

Chapter.  4834 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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