Monday, May 11, 2015

Induction: Inductively Strong & Inductively Cogent

Induction is the process of reasoning from one or more premises to reach a conclusion which is likely, though not certainly true. Hence, ainductive argument is one in which if the premises were true, then the conclusion is likely to be true.

"In the most general sense, Inductive reasoning is that in which we extrapolate from experience to what we have not experienced. The assumption behind inductive reasoning is that known cases can provide information about unknown cases."1 Govier goes on to describe inductive arguments as having the following characteristics:

1. The premises and the conclusion are all empirical propositions.
2. The conclusion is not deductively entailed by the premises.
3. The reasoning used to infer the conclusion from the premises is based on the underlying assumption that the regularities described in the premises will persist.
4. The inference is either that unexamined cases will resemble examined ones or that evidence makes an explanatory hypothesis probable.

Inductively Strong Arguments - An inductively strong (forceful) argument is one in which, if the premises were considered to be true, the conclusion is probably true. In other words, if we assume the premises are true the likelihood that the conclusion of an inductively strong argument is true is greater than 50%. If the probability that the conclusion is true is 50% or less, than the argument is inductively week.

Inductively Cogent Arguments - An inductively cogent argument is one which is inductively strong and all of its premises are actually true. 

To fit into our informal logic model, instead of requiring that the premises be true we would require that they be acceptable. This, of course, is due to the difficulty often encountered in establishing with certainty whether or not something is true. 

Types of inductive arguments include inductive generalization, statistical syllogism and analogical arguments.

1 A Practical Study of Argument

Critical Reasoning and Philosophy, A Concise Guide to Reading, Evaluating, and Writing Philosophical Works 

Probability and Induction

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