Abductive reasoning


The abductive reasoning is explained as the kind of reasoning which, from the representation of a phenomenon is achieved directly reach a hypothesis , by which you can get to explain the reasons for the premise. By means of this conjecture, the abduction and most accurate explanation of a question or problem is sought in the first instance . It can be said that abductive thinking is used in wide contexts, which is why it is usually complicated when it comes to giving it a specific or direct characterization.


What is abductive reasoning?

According to Aristotle , abductive reasoning  is based on syllogisms, where we can find that the premise only gives us to a certain extent the power to reach a conclusion. In a way alone it is the way in which you seek to reach a solution faster .

  • Definition
  • Principles of abductive reasoning
  • features
  • What is abductive reasoning for?
  • Criticisms of abductive reasoning
  • Examples


It refers primarily to the relationship that two concepts have between themselves, but that despite the above mentioned are different from each other. Both arguments can be positively explanatory and conclusive , but you have a different way of getting there. Something important to take into account is that abductive reasoning is, in the first instance, not logical reasoning and that it only offers you a direct explanation of the premise that is posed to you.


The abductive arguments like everything, carry a risk , because even though you can find the best solution for the premise and exposed, the risk that this solution is false or erroneous runs.

Principles of abductive reasoning

For all phenomena there are different types of explanation, so the following principles must be taken into account, before reaching abductive reasoning :

Simplicity principle

On this principle, the least complicated and most direct explanation is chosen in order to be as successful as possible.

Check principle

The theory is chosen with which the greatest amount of prediction possible is offered and that in turn are confirmed or true.

Consistency principle

The explanation that has already been proven by experts or people with verifiable knowledge is chosen.

Broad principle

in this it is about getting the explanation with more theory and relevant and convincing facts, in order to avoid error at all costs.


The characteristics of this type of reasoning only certify the fact that it will help us to solve any premise directly.

  • This is a purely logical aspect.
  • It can be a psychological aspect.
  • It contains epistemic and computational aspects .
  • The inductive reasoning is linked largely.

What is abductive reasoning for?

abductive reasoning serves as the basis for conjectures about ethics and value , so it helps us solve the premises and reach a conclusion which, based on our system of values ​​and beliefs, is the most likely and least remote. to reality.

Criticisms of abductive reasoning

Due to its imprecision, this type of thinking involves us within non-linear thinking, at the same time that it has similarities within lateral thinking and analogical reasoning . This type of reasoning can help us to obtain a quick answer , but while being fast, the indications of your hypothesis may be invalid, so its logical validity must be confirmed in the first instance before being completely probable.

Although abductive reasoning is established in a more direct way towards an explanation of the questions, there is a doubt that they may or may not be wrong, which is why it becomes a type of imprecise or unpunctual reasoning.


To explain abductive reasoning more clearly, we present the following examples:

  • You hear a baby crying and at the same time an unpleasant smell, so you conclude that the child’s crying is treated by his need to change his diaper.
  • Two friends argued and their friendship ended, soon after you can see them together in the cone, so the best explanation in the first instance is that they both made peace and now everything is fine between them.
  • One morning you wake up and on your dining room table you find a plate full of breadcrumbs and a knife with which to bind a little jelly. Your immediate conclusion is that someone in the family left in a hurry and did not pick up what was left on the table.

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