Demonstration, extension and refinement of the re-proposed notion of design abduction

Lauri Koskela, Ehud Kroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The original ideas on design abduction, inspired by treatments in philosophy of science, had a narrow conception on how novelty emerges in design, when looked at in terms of logic. The authors have previously presented a re-proposed notion of abduction in design, taking the differences between science and design into account. Now, in this article, the invention of the airplane by the Wright brothers is analyzed as a retrospective case study. Key parts of the re-proposed notion of design abduction are demonstrated, and two new types of design abduction are identified, namely strategic abduction and dynamic abduction. Perhaps even more importantly, a new hypothesis on the cognitive basis of design abduction is reached. While the importance of model-based abduction (and reasoning) is confirmed, the case also pinpoints the central role of verbalization and discussion in supporting design reasoning in general and especially abduction. All in all, it seems that an improved understanding of design abduction and its cognitive basis would be instrumental in promoting more effective and efficient designing.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalArtificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing: AIEDAM
Early online date16 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2020


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