Comparison Arguments

Inductive arguments arise from experiences or observations. They compare one event, idea, or thing with another to establish that they are similar enough to make a generalization or inference about them. The most important point to note about this type of argument is that the two events being compared must be similar.


Rebekah says, "Whenever I use bread flour to make my pizza, the crust turns out perfectly. So, every time I use bread flour, I will have a perfect crust." (A leads to B many times, so A will lead to B every time.)

Rebekah is comparing one set of events (observed use of bread flour and perfect pizza crust) with another (a generalization: every time she uses bread flour, she will get a perfect crust). These events have one similarity (using bread flour), and the inductive argument is that they will also be similar in another way (result in a perfect pizza crust).

The strength of this, as well as all other, comparative inductive arguments depends on how similar the two events are. In fact, when an inductive argument fails, it is most often because the events were not really similar enough to make a comparison. Rebekah takes for granted that "every time" in the future, she will make pizza exactly as she did during each of the observed times. If that is true, her conclusion is probably true.

But what if every observed time Rebekah used the bread flour, she also used fresh yeast? If she makes a pizza in the future and uses old yeast, she will not get a perfect crust. The events will be dissimilar and the conclusion will not hold. The second premise of any inductive argument should ideally state that there is no significant difference between the two sets of events/ideas/things. The second premise of Rebekah's argument could say "Every crust will be perfect, because there will be no key difference between my future crust making and my previous crust making." Keeping such a disclaimer in mind is important, because this is where many inductive arguments are weakest.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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