Inductive Reasoning


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.

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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    Is radiant thinking inductive?
    4 years ago

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