The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘A Logical Criticism of the Articles of Religious Belief’


By Retroduction I mean that kind of reasoning by which, upon finding ourselves confronted by a state of things that, taken by itself, seems almost or quite incomprehensible, or extremely complicated if not very irregular, or at least surprising; we are led to suppose that perhaps there is, in fact, another definite state of things, because, though we do not perceive any unequivocal evidence of it, nor even of a part of it, (or independently of such evidence if it does exist,) we yet perceive that this supposed state of things would shed a light of reason upon that state of facts with which we are confronted, rendering it comprehensible, likely (if not certain,) or comparatively simple and natural.

MS [R] 856:3-4
‘Retroduction’ (pub. 12.03.13-19:05). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 12, 2013, 19:05 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Aug 22, 2017, 10:20 by Mats Bergman