Peirce consistently characterized it as the kind of inference that originates a hypothesis by concluding in an explanation, though an unassured one, for some very curious or surprising (anomalous) observation stated in a premise.
As early as 1865 he wrote that all conceptions of cause and force are reached through hypothetical inference; in the 1900s he wrote that all explanatory content of theories is reached through abduction.
He considered it a topic in logic as a normative field in philosophy, not in purely formal or mathematical logic, and eventually as a topic also in economics of research.
As two stages of the development, extension, etc., of a hypothesis in scientific inquiry, abduction and also induction are often collapsed into one overarching concept — the hypothesis.
) is a form of logical inference which starts with an observation then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation.
Abduction can lead to false conclusions if other rules explaining the observation are not taken into account (e.g.Peirce long treated abduction in terms of induction from characters or traits (weighed, not counted like objects), explicitly so in his influential 1883 "A Theory of Probable Inference", in which he returns to involving probability in the hypothetical conclusion.Like "Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis" in 1878, it was widely read (see the historical books on statistics by Stephen Stigler), unlike his later amendments of his conception of abduction.That is why, in the scientific method known from Galileo and Bacon, the abductive stage of hypothesis formation is conceptualized simply as induction.Thus, in the twentieth century this collapse was reinforced by Karl Popper's explication of the hypothetico-deductive model, where the hypothesis is considered to be just "a guess" (in the spirit of Peirce).