Anticipations as Abductions in Human and Machine Cognition Deep Learning: Locked and Unlocked Capacities


  • Lorenzo Magnani Department of Humanities, Philosophy Section and Computational Philosophy Laboratory, University of Pavia, Italy



abduction, human and machine cognition, creativity, eco-cognitive openness, locked and unlocked capacities, locked and unlocked strategies, Go game, AlphaGo, deep learning


In my opinion, it is only in the framework of a research dealing with abductive cognition that we can analyze important cognitive aspects of human and machine capacities. From the point of view of human (and of some animal, mammals for example) capacities the phenomenological concept of anticipation (seen as a kind of abduction), which is related to the problem of the spontaneous generation of spatiality and its three-dimensionality, will be central. I will describe that anticipations can be seen as types of visual and manipulative abduction and also fruitful to illustrate, in the case of human and machine capacities, the respective role of two kinds of strategic reasoning: locked and unlocked abductive strategies, which characterize the basic cognitive pro- cedure of “reading ahead”. The specificity of these contrasting inferential strategies is also related to their potentiality in producing different kinds of hypothetical outcomes, which in turn represent dissimilar levels of knowledge creativity. This diversity is also fundamental to depict the special character, the kind of creativity (often amazing), and the limits of current computational deep learning AI systems, such as AlphaGo, which realize abductive cognitive processes.


Arfini, S., & Magnani, L. (2015). An eco-cognitive model of ignorance immunization. In L. Magnani, P. Li & W. Park (Eds.), Philosophy and cognitive science II. Western and Eastern Studies (pp. 59–75). Springer.

Feyerabend, P. (1975). Against method. Verso.

Gabbay, D. M., & Woods, J. (2005). The reach of abduction. North-Holland.

Grush, R. (2004). The emulation theory of representation: Motor control, imagery, and perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(3), 377–442.

Grush, R. (2007). Agency, emulation and other minds. Cognitive Semiotics, 0, 49–67.

Holland, J. H. (1995). Hidden order. Addison-Wesley.

Holland, J. H. (1997). Emergence: From chaos to order. Oxford University Press.

Magnani, L. (2001). Abduction, reason, and science. Processes of discovery and explanation. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Magnani, L. (2009). Abductive cognition. The epistemological and eco-cognitive dimensions of hypothetical reasoning. Springer.

Magnani, L. (2015a). The eco-cognitive model of abduction: Apagoghé now: Naturalizing the logic of abduction. Journal of Applied Logic, 13, 285–315.

Magnani, L. (2015b). Naturalizing logic. Errors of reasoning vindicated: Logic reapproaches cognitive science. Journal of Applied Logic, 13(1), 13–36.

Magnani, L. (2016). The eco-cognitive model of abduction. Irrelevance and implausibility exculpated. Journal of Applied Logic, 15, 94–129.

Magnani, L. (2018). The urgent need of a naturalized logic. Philosophies, 3(4), 40.

Magnani, L., & Bertolotti, T. (2011). Cognitive bubbles and firewalls: Epistemic immunizations in human reasoning. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher & T. Shipley (Eds.), CogSci 2011, XXXIII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society.

Overgaard, S., & Grünbaum, T. (2007). What do weather watchers see? Perceptual intentionality and agency. Cognitive Semiotics, 0, 8–31.

Paglieri, F., & Woods, J. (2011a). Enthymematic parsimony. Synthese, 178(3), 461–501.

Paglieri, F., & Woods, J. (2011b). Enthymemes: From reconstruction to understanding. Argumentation, 25(2), 127–139.

Park, W. (2015). On classifying abduction. Journal of Applied Logic, 13(3), 215–238.

Park, W. (2018). Enthymematic interaction in Baduk. Journal of Applied Logic – IfColog Journal of Logics and their Applications, 5(5), 1145–1168.

Peirce, C. S. (1931–1958). Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce [vols. 1-6, C. Hartshorne & P. Weiss, P. (Eds.); vols. 7-8, A. W. Burks (Ed.)]. Harvard University Press.

Petitot, J., Varela, F. J., Pachoud, B., & Roy, J.-M. (Eds.). (1999). Naturalizing phenomenology. Stanford University Press.

Woods, J. (2011). Recent developments in abductive logic [essay review of L. Magnani, Abductive cognition. The epistemological and eco-cognitive dimensions of hypothetical reasoning, Springer, Heidelberg/Berlin, 2009.]. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 42(1), 240–244.




How to Cite

Magnani, L. . (2020). Anticipations as Abductions in Human and Machine Cognition Deep Learning: Locked and Unlocked Capacities. Postmodern Openings, 11(4), 230-247.



Theoretical articles