These days it takes me a web search to discover what I was thinking and writing the month before. I went looking for the passage in McCulloch where he uses Case, Fact, Rule and it led me through hill and dale and back to my own post here on March 11. See McCulloch’s paper with the Bardic title “What’s In The Brain That Ink May Character?”, but watch out for a few typos in the online copy.
Abductive reasoning was one of the first topics that pulled me into the briar patch of AI many years ago. There were early papers by Harry Pople that I recall, partly because they came up again when I was working at the University of Texas Medical Branch and folks there were just beginning to explore computer-aided medical diagnosis. At any rate, my search did turn up a copy of one of Pople’s early papers that references both Peirce and McCulloch.
- Pople, H., and Werner, G. (1972), “An Information Processing Approach to Theory Formation in Biomedical Research”. Online.
There have been four or five distinct waves of AI literature on so-called “abduction” since that time but almost all of it takes off from the same syntactic over-simplification of Peirce’s more complex model of abductive reasoning as it performs its role within the process of inquiry, so I have largely lost interest in that departure from the fons et origo.
- McCulloch, W.S. (1964), “What’s in the Brain That Ink May Character?”, International Congress for Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, Israel, August 28, 1964. Reprinted in Embodiments of Mind, pp. 387–397.
- McCulloch, W.S. (1965), Embodiments of Mind, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
- Pople, H., and Werner, G. (1972), “An Information Processing Approach to Theory Formation in Biomedical Research”, International Workshop on Managing Requirements Knowledge, December 5–7, 1972, Anaheim, CA, American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), 1972 Proceedings of the Spring Joint Computer Conference, pp. 1125–1138.