Defining a General Structure of Four Inferential Processes by Means of Four Pairs of Choices Concerning Two Basic Dichotomies

In Matthieu Fontaine, Cristina Barés-Gómez, Francisco Salguero-Lamillar, Lorenzo Magnani & Ángel Nepomuceno-Fernández (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Berlin: Springer Verlag. pp. 298-317 (2019)
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In previous papers I have characterized four ways of reasoning in Peirce’s philosophy, and four ways of reasoning in Computability Theory. I have established their correspondence on the basis of the four pairs of choices regarding two dichotomies, respectively the dichotomy between two kinds of Mathematics and the dichotomy between two kinds of Logic. In the present paper I introduce four principles of reasoning in theoretical Physics and I interpret also them by means of the four pairs of choices regarding the above two dichotomies. I show that there exists a meaningful correspondence among the previous three fourfold sets of elements. This convergence of the characteristic ways of reasoning within three very different fields of research - Peirce’s philosophy, Computability theory and physical theories - suggests that there exists a general-purpose structure of four ways of reasoning. This structure is recognized as applied by Mendeleev when he built his periodic table. Moreover, it is shown that a chemist-, applies all the above ways of reasoning at the same time. Peirce’s professional practice as a chemist applying at the same time this variety of reasoning explains his stubborn research into the variety of the possible inferences.

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