In this article, I compare two varieties of abduction as reconstructive models for analysing discovery. The first is 'Hansonian abduction', which is based on N. R. Hanson's formulations of abduction. The other is 'Harmanian abduction', the Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) model, formulated especially by Gilbert Harman. Peter Lipton has analysed processes of discovery on the basis of his developed form of Harmanian abduction. I argue that Hansonian abduction would, however, be a more apt model for this purpose. As an example, I reconstruct, in a Hansonian manner, Ignaz Semmelweis's research on childbed fever and compare it to the IBE reconstruction of Lipton. I argue that Hansonian abduction is in accordance with Lipton's aim of taking into account the distinction between actual and potential explanations on the one hand, and between likely and lovely explanations on the other. I maintain that a developed version of Hansonian abduction combined with loveliness gives an important, new conceptual means for analysing processes of discovery.
Keywords abduction  N.R. Hanson  Gilbert Harman
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02698590600641065
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Truth-Seeking by Abduction.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
76 ( #153,748 of 2,519,681 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,314 of 2,519,681 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes