Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B15, B25, B31, B41

Key Words

Abduction, Charles Sanders Peirce, Institutional Economics retroduction, Thorstein Veblen


This inquiry considers the meaning of abduction and its uses in Economic Science. Abductive logic is discussed at some length, in order to clarify how it is used in this inquiry. In addition, abduction is traced from its appearances in the writings of pragmatist philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce and how its meaning is later carried on in Thorstein Veblen’s Institutional Economics. Peirce’s influence proves foundational for Veblen’s contributions, as well as for the writings of John Roger Commons. My research suggests that after Commons, Peirce’s influence in economics wanes. Additionally, the use of retroduction in critical realism provides a contemporary example of abduction. This inquiry concludes by discussing implications of abductive logic, suggesting that abduction proves essential for the advancement of Economic Science.


© 2009 Daniel Urban

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Persistent Identifier