Terminology Tuesday: Inference to the Best Explanation

Inference to the Best Explanation: Type of reasoning in which the truth of a theory or proposition is affirmed on the grounds that it best accounts for all of the available evidence. This type of inference is sometimes called “abduction” by those who think it is a type of reasoning distinct from induction or deduction.

Inference to the best explanation is common in daily life, the detective story and science. Advocates of cumulative case apologetics appeal to this kind of argument pattern in arguing for the existence of God.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 61.

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Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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