On Abduction in Design

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Kroll, Ehud ; Koskela, Lauri

The mechanism of design reasoning from function to form is addressed by examining the possibility of explaining it as abduction. We propose a new interpretation to some definitions of innovative abduction, to show first that the concept, idea, as the basis for solution must be present in the inference, and second, that the reasoning from function to form is best modeled as a two-step inference, both of the innovative abduction pattern. This double-abductive reasoning is shown also to be the main form of reasoning in the empirically-derived “parameter analysis” method of conceptual design. Finally, the introduction of abduction into design theory is critically assessed, and in so doing, topics for future research are suggested.
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