Abduction

Fleming. A kind of syllogism in which it is plain that the major extreme is contained in the middle; but it is not apparent that the middle is included in the minor extreme, although this is equally credible or more so than the conclusion.

From this, therefore, that its major proposition is plain, it approaches to demonstration; but it is not yet demonstration, since its assumption or minor proposition is not evident. But the assumption is not evident because it is not immediate, but requires proof to make the demonstration complete. For example—All whom God absolves are free from sin. But God absolves all who are in Christ. Therefore all who are in Christ are free from sin. In this apagogic syllogism the major proposition is self-evident; but the assumption is not plain till another proposition proving it is introduced, namely, God condemns sin in them by the mission of his Son. This mode of reasoning is called abduction, because it withdraws us from the conclusion to the proof of a proposition concealed or not expressed.

References

  1. Fleming, W. (1860). The vocabulary of philosophy, mental, moral, and metaphysical. Philadelphia, PA: Smith, English, & Co.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:20).

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