The Holmesian logician: Sherlock Holmes’ “Science of Deduction and Analysis” and the logic of discovery

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Abstract

This paper examines whether Sherlock Holmes’ “Science of Deduction and Analysis,” as reconstructed by Hintikka and Hintikka (in: Eco U, Sebeok TA (eds) The sign of three: Peirce, Dupin, Holmes, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1983), exemplifies a logic of discovery. While the Hintikkas claimed it does, their approach remained largely programmatic, and ultimately unsuccessful. Their reconstruction must thus be expanded, in particular to account for the role of memory in inquiry. Pending this expansion, the Hintikkas’ claim is vindicated. However, a tension between the naturalistic aspirations of their model and the formal apparatus they built it on is identified. The paper concludes on suggestions for easing this tension without losing the normative component of the Hintikkas’ epistemological model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10169-10186
JournalSynthese
Volume198
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy

Keywords

  • Logic of discovery
  • Merill B. and Jaakko Hintikka
  • Sherlock Holmes

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