Abductive, presumptive and plausible arguments

Douglas Walton


Current practice in logic increasingly accords recognition to abductive, presumptive or plausible arguments, in addition to deductive and inductive arguments. But there is uncertainty about what these terms exactly mean, what the differences between them are (if any), and how they relate. By examining some analyses ofthese terms and some of the history of the subject (including the views of Peirce and Cameades), this paper sets out considerations leading to a set of definitions, discusses the relationship of these three forms of argument to argumentation schemes and sets out a new argumentation scheme for abductive argument.


argumentation scheme, inference to the best explanation, defeasible argument, scientific evidence, legal evidence, hypothesis, argument from sign, probative weight, expert opinion evidence, plausibility.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v21i2.2241

ISSN: 0824-2577