Inductive Reasoning

LESSON SUMMARY

This lesson shows how to recognize and construct an inductive argument. These arguments move from specific facts to general conclusions by using common sense and/or past experience.

Induction is the process of reasoning from the specific (particular facts or instances) to the general (principles, theories, rules). It uses two premises that support the probable truth of the conclusion. Thus, an inductive argument looks like this: If A is true and B is true, then C is probably true.

How can you determine or measure what is probable or improbable? By using two things:

1. past experience

2. common sense

Past experience tells you what you might be able to expect. For instance, "for the past three weeks, my colleague has showed up a half hour late for work. Today, she will probably be late, too." Common sense allows you to draw an inference, or a "smart guess," based on the premises, such as, "They need five people on the team. I'm one of the strongest of the seven players at the tryouts. It's likely that I will be picked for the team."

Because you must make a leap from the premises to the truth of the conclusion, inductive reasoning is more likely to fail and produce fallacies, such as a hasty conclusion fallacy (see Lesson 15 to learn about these fallacies). Even so, most reasoning is inductive. One of the basic theories of modern biology, cell theory, is a product of inductive reasoning. It states that because every organism that has been observed is made up of cells, it is most likely that all living things are made up of cells.

There are two forms of inductive arguments. Those that compare one thing, event, or idea to another to see if they are similar are called comparative arguments. Those that try to determine cause from effect are causal arguments.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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Responses

  • JOLLY
    Is radiant thinking inductive?
    4 years ago

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