"Inference to the best explanation, which is sometimes called abduction, is the mode of reasoning that we employ when we infer something on the grounds that it is the best explanation of the facts we already know. For example, when somebody doesn’t answer the door or the phone, we usually infer that they are not at home because that best explains the data we have. Similarly, it is argued, in science hypotheses are often adopted because of their explanatory power, for example, the hypothesis that the continents are not fixed on the surface of the Earth but are very slowly drifting in relation to one another is adopted by geologists because it explains the common characteristics of some rocks that are now thousands of miles apart, and also some correlations between the shapes of different continents."
Ladyman (2002) page 47