Naturalizing Peirce's semiotics: Ecological psychology's solution to the problem of creative abduction

Alex Kirlik, Peter Storkerson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The study of model-based reasoning (MBR) is one of the most interesting recent developments at the intersection of psychology and the philosophy of science. Although a broad and eclectic area of inquiry, one central axis by which MBR connects these disciplines is anchored at one end in theories of internal reasoning (in cognitive science), and at the other, in C.S. Peirce's semiotics (in philosophy). In this paper, we attempt to show that Peirce's semiotics actually has more natural affinity on the psychological side with ecological psychology, as originated by James J. Gibson and especially Egon Brunswik, than it does with non-interactionist approaches to cognitive science. In particular, we highlight the strong ties we believe to exist between the triarchic structure of semiotics as conceived by Peirce, and the similar triarchic stucture of Brunswik's lens model of organismic achievement in irreducibly uncertain ecologies. The lens model, considered as a theory of creative abduction, provides a concrete instantiation of at least one, albeit limited, interpretation of Peirce's semiotics, one that we believe could be quite fruitful in future theoretical and empirical investigations of MBR in both science and philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModel-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology
Subtitle of host publicationAbduction, Logic, and Computational Discovery
EditorsLorenzo Magnani, Walter Carnielli, Claudio Pizzi
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Computational Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1860-949X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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