Studying design abduction in the context of novelty

DS 87-7 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 7: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Kroll, Ehud; Koskela, Lauri
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: ORT Braude College, Israel; 2: University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 061-070
ISBN: 978-1-904670-95-7
ISSN: 2220-4342


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.

Keywords: Design theory, Design cognition, Human behaviour in design, Abduction, Innovation


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