Studying design abduction in the context of novelty

Ehud Kroll, Lauri Koskela

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Design abduction has been studied over the last several decades in order to increase our understanding in design reasoning. Yet, there is still considerable confusion and ambiguity regarding this topic. Some scholars contend that all regressive inferences in design - and design is mostly done by such backwards or regressive reasoning - are in fact abductions. Others focus on formal syllogistic forms in their attempt to clarify abduction. In contrast, we argue here that a defining characteristic of abduction is the production of, or the potential to produce, novel outcomes. Novelty is shown to be relative and depend mostly on what is known to the "reasoner" at the time of making the inference. Novelty is also shown to not necessarily be part of the direct outcome of an abductive inference; but rather, an attribute of an abductive design strategy that is intended to produce a new idea.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDS 87-7 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED)
Subtitle of host publicationDesign Theory and Research Methodology, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017
EditorsAnja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781904670957
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event21st International Conference on Engineering Design - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017
Conference number: 21 (Link to Conference Website)

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2220-4342


Conference21st International Conference on Engineering Design
Abbreviated titleICED 17
Internet address


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