Argumentum in Absentia

Cognitive Science and Language, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow of Philosophy of Science Dept. of Humanities - Philosophy Section Computational Philosophy Laboratory University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
ORCID: 0000-0002-8817-7286
Scopus ID: 57222557221


24/03/2022- The book “Embodied, Extended, Ignorant Minds. Synthese Library, vol 463. Springer, Cham” has been published. mLorenzo Magnani and I have essayed the chapter: “How Do We Think about the Unknown? The Self-Awareness of Ignorance as a Tool for Managing the Anguish of Not Knowing.”

03/03/2022- It is published:  Sans Pinillos, A. (2022). Distribución abductiva de los valores culturales: el proyecto de Alejandría. In Estany, A. y Gensollen, M. (eds.), Diseño institucional e innovaciones democráticas. Aguascalientes, México: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona-Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes. You can read it for free here: DISEÑO INSTITUCIONAL E INNOVACIONES DEMOCRÁTICAS | Portal de libros de la Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (

28/12/2021- The article I co-authored with Jordi Vallverdú, “What the #®¥§≠$ is Creativity?” has been published. It is part of the annual issue number 6 of the magazine “Debats: Journal on culture, power and society”.

10/12/2021- Last Friday, December 10th, I presented “Observer and participant. The theory-praxis problem in research from an eco-cognitive perspective of abduction” at the IV International Colloquium on Argumentation and Rhetoric.

The Thesis

Cover designed by Marc Padró

In “Argumentum in Absentia: The Role of Abduction in Philosophy of Science and its Prescriptive Value Dependency”, it is argued that abduction has a prescriptive aspect that has not yet been taken into account. The reasons lie in the fact that abduction has been investigated from the standpoint of the debates in philosophy of science, which not only determine the conceptual framework acting as a starting point of studies but also offer a closed conception of what is science, namely the one that goes into the debate in question. This interpretation of abduction is a pending task that, if it is not solved, then we would risk perpetuating a philosophical system that denies abduction itself. This situation is shown through the dichotomies that have shaped contemporary debates because abduction can only operate precisely when one accepts the relation between notions previously declared to be antagonistic.

The ideal starting point is the EC-Model from which the contemporary conception of abduction can be approached differently, which allows the incorporation of relevant cognitive elements to understand the multimodal aspect of this reasoning. On the other hand, the prescriptive element is based on James’ radical empiricism, which complements the EC-Model with a theoretical framework to raise a holistic (and not vicious) relationship between the values and the descriptions of the world. This conjunction offers an open and unfinished cosmovision, formed by the set of particular views of the world.

The Project

My current project is to demonstrate the hypothesis that abduction has a prescriptive aspect, which is essential for operating its full potential. I carry out this task in various ways, which are determined by the different official projects in which I collaborate.

From an epistemological perspective, I am investigating the role of abduction when facing uncertainty. In a figurative sense, I am interested in analyzing which is the last available link when you do not have tools to build the same path that you are walking. In these circumstances, it is more important to know how we want the world to be than to know how it is, and, here, the ethical gaze acquires an epistemological relevance.

I also work on this idea in more practical research. I am currently working on the prescriptive aspect of medical diagnosis. On the other hand, I also try to implement the prescriptive element of abduction in concrete design processes, in which different descriptions have to be adapted to individual wills which in turn, are regulated by the social impact of the final product obtained.

Theory and Praxis (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore)

Upcoming publications

My workplace in the The Computational Philosophy Lab (CPL) at UniPV

– Adúriz-Bravo, A. & Sans Pinillos, A. (2022). Abduction as a Mode of Inference in Science Education. Science & Education.

– Vallverdú, J., Sans Pinillos, A. (2022). Inevitable creativity. Human inquiry explained through the neuro-multimodality of abduction. In Magnani, L. (ed.), Handbook of Abductive CognitionHeidelberg/Berlin: Springer.

– Sans Pinillos, A. (2022). Distribution of cultural values through abduction in socially and culturally shared spaces. In Magnani, L. (ed.), Handbook of Abductive CognitionHeidelberg/Berlin: Springer.

* All the publications in this section are accepted texts that will come out soon. For this reason, not all the data are available yet.

The Method

My methodology is mainly based on staying motivated by establishing harmony between fascination, intuition and knowledge. Unlike some colleagues’ understanding of what research is, to me, knowledge has never been the central axis, but the regulative limit of my intuition. Precisely for this reason, knowledge is also a crutch, which offers a point of support for intuition.

By intuition, I mean the vague idea I have of the order of things and, based on them, also of its possibilities. There are concrete issues that I can only keep connected from this overview. Obviously, in the end, it is the investigation of the moment that determines if this is more or less possible. Still, intuition allows me to separate without eliminating those aspects that seem not to fit, but that seem relevant to me.

Finally, the fascination is the engine of my research. With it, I focus on those problems that interest me the most, and it allows me to find its roots in countless places. At times, it can become an obsession, and that is why it is necessary to control it with the intuited ideas that, in turn, are contrasted with the knowledge obtained from the current state of the research.

However, without the fascination I feel for my specific work and for philosophy in general, I would have no interest, not only in knowing what surrounds me but neither understanding and looking for alternatives for a better future.

A lost pathway in Baceno (VB, Italy)