The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism: Lecture VII’


I have argued in several of my early papers that there are but three essentially different modes of reasoning: Deduction, Induction, and Abduction. I may mention in particular papers in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for April and May 1867. I must say, however, that it would be very easy to misunderstand those arguments. I did not at first fully comprehend them myself. I cannot restate the matter tonight, although I am very desirous of doing so, for I could now put it in a much clearer light. I have already explained to you briefly what these three modes of inference, Deduction, Induction, and Abduction, are. I ought to say that when I described induction as the experimental testing of a hypothesis, I was not thinking of experimentation in the narrow sense in which it is confined to cases in which we ourselves deliberately create the peculiar conditions under which we desire to study a phenomenon. I mean to extend it to every case in which, having ascertained by deduction that a theory would lead us to anticipate under certain circumstances phenomena contrary to what we should expect if the theory were not true, we examine the cases of that sort to see how far those predictions are borne out.

EP 2:234
‘Induction’ (pub. 03.02.13-19:00). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Feb 03, 2013, 19:00 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:00 by Commens Admin