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Charles Sanders Peirce The Functional Stages of Inquiry

Interpretation as Action: The Risk of Inquiry

By Jon Awbrey and Susan Awbrey
The first functional stage of inquiry is abduction, which involves "pondering these phenomena in all their aspects," allowing a conjecture to arise "that furnishes a possible Explanation," regarding the conjecture with "favor" and holding it to be "Plausible." Abduction is the "whole series of mental performances between the notice of the wonderful phenomenon and the acceptance of the hypothesis."
It is:
the dark laboring, the bursting out of the startling conjecture, the remarking of its smooth fitting to the anomaly, as it is turned back and forth like a key in a lock, and the final estimation of its Plausibility, … Its characteristic formula of reasoning I term Retroduction [abduction], i.e. reasoning from consequent to antecedent. (Peirce, CP 6.469).
Peirce's second stage of inquiry, deduction, is the testing of the hypothesis.
This testing, to be logically valid, must honestly start, not as Retroduction starts, with scrutiny of the phenomena, but with examination of the hypothesis, and a muster of all sorts of conditional experiential consequences which would follow from its truth. (Peirce, CP 6.470).
Finally, in the third stage, induction, the inquirer ascertains "how far those consequents accord with Experience, and of judging accordingly whether the hypothesis is sensibly correct." (Peirce, CP 6.472).
Peirce divides the stages of inquiry at different points than Dewey, relating them to three modes of inference that he calls abductive,deductive, and inductive reasoning.
(Abduction suffers a flight of fanciful names from hypothesis, through presumption and suggestion, toretroduction.) These forms of inference were drawn from Aristotle's three figures of syllogism and passed through a series of metamorphoses in Peirce's refractory.
Though they follow one another in the typical progress of inquiry, these elements of inference may also be combined in other ways, for example, to yield mixed forms of reasoning such as analogy. (Peirce 1982, 180)

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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…