Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Discussion of Inductive Reasoning in Science

Inductive reasoning is reasoning that draws a general conclusion based on a set of examples.

Basic pattern of Inductive Reasoning
a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h are part of group A.
a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h have property G.
All member of group A have property G.

As used in Science the process starts with observations and looks for the patterns in the observations to develop a hypothesis as general description of the observations. Inductive Reasoning allows for general conclusions to be drawn from specific observations and evidence allowing conclusions based on patterns in observations and evidence. The possibility that the sample size may be too small for a general conclusion is a risk of inductive reasoning. It is esily affected by philosophical assumptions and biases in selection of sample, in the patterns recognized, as well as the conclusions drawn from those patterns. Knowing about these problems helps one avoid them.

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