What is abductive reasoning?
Abductive reasoning is a form of reasoning that focuses on forming conclusions based on the information that is available. However, the information available may not be complete, therefore there is no guarantee that the conclusion reached is the right one.
Abductive reasoning is a form of non-monotonic reasoning.
Conclusions formed through abductive reasoning are probable conclusions. This form of reasoning considers an incomplete set of information and reaches the likeliest conclusion for that set of information.
Here is how abductive reasoning has been defined:
“A syllogism in which the major premise is evident but the minor premise and therefore the conclusion only probable."
What are the types of reasoning in artificial intelligence?
Reasoning in artificial intelligence can be classified into six categories:
- Inductive reasoning:
This involves reaching a conclusion while using a limited set of facts by the process of generalization.
- Deductive reasoning:
This involves finding new information from logically valid information.
- Abductive reasoning:
This involves finding the most likely conclusion using the information that is available.
- Common Sense Reasoning:
This relies on experience and good judgment rather than exact logic.
- Monotonic Reasoning:
In this form of reasoning, the addition of new information will not affect the conclusion that has already been reached.
- Non-monotonic Reasoning:
In this form of reasoning, the addition of new information may render previous conclusions invalidated.
How is abductive reasoning different from deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning?
In deductive reasoning, if the premises are true, the conclusion of the argument has to be true. It requires rules and facts and is a kind of propositional logic. It is also known as top-down reasoning.
Inductive reasoning is also a kind of propositional logic, but is contradictory to deductive reasoning. It is also known as bottom-up reasoning. It starts with certain facts and reaches a general conclusion.
While abductive reasoning can be considered an extension of deductive reasoning, the information available does not guarantee that the conclusion is accurate.
Where is abductive reasoning applied?
In daily life, abductive reasoning is applied widely. Doctors tend to use abductive reasoning while diagnosing patients, choosing the most appropriate diagnosis based on the symptoms that are observed.
Even judges and jurors rely on abductive reasoning, arriving at verdicts based on the information and evidence available. There may be other evidence that had not come to light or was not admitted, but judges and jurors have to reach the most appropriate verdict based on the information and evidence that they do have available.