Towards a simulation of Peirce's cycle of abductive, deductive and inductive reasoning

Pieter Pauwels, Ronald De Meyer, Jan Van Campenhout

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The importance of abductive reasoning is increasing within diverse research domains. Especially in combination with deductive and inductive reasoning, as Peirce originally presented it, it appears to provide an answer to many issues in diverse domains involving idea generation, creativity, interpretation, surprise, etc. While keeping in mind the diverse issues related to design thinking and information system support, which is our main domain of research, we looked into the theory of Peirce and its diverse interpretations. Based on this research, we constructed our own interpretation of this theory. Central in this interpretation stands a cycle of abductive,deductive and inductive reasoning which is iterated continuously with the surrounding physical world as its subject. From this continuous iteration, experiential knowledge is built up. This kind of knowledge is considerably different from the more static knowledge typically embedded in currently available information systems. This paper documents a part of our efforts in simulating such a reasoning cycle using currently available technologies. These efforts have resulted in an environment in which a reasoning agent processes basic colour information and gradually builds up interpretations of such colours based on incoming information. At this stage of research, such colour information is considered representative for the kind of information typically available in our physical world. Diverse hypotheses and conclusions have been made from this experimental environment. For instance, we hypothesise that Peirce’s reasoning cycle might be configured in reasoning levels,with each level handling information or patterns in different levels of invariance and meaning. We conclude that Peirce’s approach could help in addressing some critical issues in diverse domains. However, important barriers prevent any important breakthrough in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Model-Based Reasoning (MBR2012)
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventModel-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology - Sestri Levante, Italy
Duration: 21 Jun 201223 Jun 2012


ConferenceModel-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology
Abbreviated titleMBR
CitySestri Levante

Bibliographical note

ugent:id 5659075 ugent:classification C1


  • patterns
  • reasoning
  • semantic web
  • abductive reasoning
  • information technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a simulation of Peirce's cycle of abductive, deductive and inductive reasoning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this