But who else, besides myself, has experiences? Because you are so similar to me, I abduce that you do.

How far consciousness extends its dominion within the tree of life becomes more difficult to abduce as species become more alien to us.

Again, the similarities between the structure, dynamics, and genetic specification of nervous systems of all tetrapods ... allows me to abduce that they too experience the world.

Source: https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/is-consciousness-everywhere/

I couldn't find the word in the dictionary.

  • 1
    Lexico has abduce with a 'rare' usage meaning adduce Cite as evidence. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:27
  • 3
    See the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on abduction which gives this example of the general idea of what it means to "abduce": You happen to know that Tim and Harry have recently had a terrible row that ended their friendship. Now someone tells you that she just saw Tim and Harry jogging together. The best explanation for this that you can think of is that they made up. You conclude that they are friends again.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


The OED says (sense 4:)

  1. transitive. Chiefly Philosophy. Originally with reference to the writings of C. S. Peirce: to form or infer (a hypothesis or explanation) by a process of abduction. See abduction n. 3b.

Under "abduction" it says:

b. Chiefly Philosophy. Originally in the writings of C. S. Peirce (U.S. philosopher and logician, 1839–1914): the formation or adoption of a plausible but unproven explanation for an observed phenomenon; a working hypothesis derived from limited evidence and informed conjecture.

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