Systematic Method for Abductive Reasoning

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Systematic Method for Abductive Reasoning
A. J. Jegadheeeson, Member
I am studying the possibility of applying abductive reasoning - in quality problem solving. Can anyone help me by giving references on following:
1. Systematic method of applying abductive reasoning - tools & techniques
2. Some examples of application.

Abductive Reasoning and Problem Solving
michael cook, Member
You could try this:
One basic paradigm in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is "Generate and Test", i.e., given a problem, find a solution by generating every possible solution then testing to see if it is correct. For all but "toy" examples this method is impractical because of combinatorial explosion.
A refinement of this method is: "Plan - Generate - Test", in which the search space for possible solutions is intelligently pre-selected.
This paper describes discussions about this sort of thing in the context of a molecular biology laboratory discussion run by Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg, who also had a long standing interest in artificial intelligence and made contributions to that field as well.

Abductive Reasoning and Problem Solving
Kaye Remington, Member
Valuable insight. One of the major obstacles in the business world to innovation is how we treat the problem space. By that I mean how we define problems and generate solutions. There is research evidence that suggests that the tendency in business is to arrive with a predetermined, untested solution and then spend most of the time justifying that solution rather than explore other possible solutions. Quite the opposite of having too many solutions to test.
Thanks for opening up this really important area for discussion.

Abductive Reasoning and Problem Solving
michael cook, Member
@Kaye Remington: That's sort of the difference between sales and marketing, isn't it? Sales people have the product they want to sell, marketing people are trying to discover what people want.
Also, to follow up on your point: people arrive with a predetermined, untested solution before the problem has even been formulated! In fact, almost every question can be replaced with a better question. Somehow I feel this ties into the value of mindfulness training in the corporate setting.

Military Answer to Abductive Reasoning
Andrew Blaine, Member
Almost every decision that management has to make involves the consideration of variable factors that cannot be definitively quantified. For example, it is generally impossible to anticipate revenue streams - they can only be approximated. This situation also applies in the military sphere e.g., one side never knows completely how the other is deployed.
To minimise the risk in military decision making, the "Appreciation of the Situation" has been developed. After years of use it has been found relevant to many varied situations. It follows the process below:
1. Identify all factors that influence the situation;
2. Examine each factor in detail, making deductions from each point raised in each factor;
3. Consolidate your deductions drawn and, from these, derive a few conclusions;
4. From these conclusions derive all options open to resolve the situation;
5. Consider each option and select the best available;
6. Plan using your choice as skeleton.
Have fun.


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