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Here, we go from the particular to the general.

Based on observation, facts and experience

Facts are obvious, visible and appealing to

common people. Therefore, reasoning based on
them would have more adherents.

Sample studies, case studies, grounded

theory, ethnography etc. fall in this
Reasoning which takes us beyond the
confines of our current evidence or
knowledge to conclusions about the
The premises of an inductive argument
support the conclusion but do not entail
it i.e. they do not ensure its truth.

Induction is used to ascribe properties or
relations to types based on an observation
(or on a no. of observations / experiences)
It is also used to formulate laws based on
limited obsns.of recurring phenomenal
Induction is employed in using specific
propositions to infer general propositions.
There is strong induction and weak

Strong Induction

Man X is mortal
Man Y is mortal
Therefore, all men are mortal

All swans I have ever seen are white
Therefore, all swans are white

Another example:
This ice is cold (or all ice I have touched is cold)
Therefore, all ice is cold

Another example
Therefore, an odd number added to another odd
number will result in an even number

Yet another example:

All crows that I have observed are black
Therefore, all crows are black

Each time I throw a ball up, it comes back down
Therefore, the next time I throw a ball up, it will
back down

Such conclusions however, are not certain

unless we falsify the contrary.
Thus, the truth of the premise would make
the truth of the conclusion probable, but not
Hence the need for a fairly large number of
observations and randomness of the sample
group for representing the population.
Even so, we conclude with some level of
confidence or significance.

Weak Induction

Consider the example :

I always hang picture from nails
Therefore, all pictures hang from nails

Here, the link between the premise and the

inductive conclusion is weak. No reason exists to
believe that there are no other ways for pictures
to hang. Indeed, not all pictures are hung. Even
when hung, they need not be on nails.

Many drivers fined for speeding are teenagers
Therefore, all teenagers drive fast

Another example :
I usually relax with a cup of tea
Therefore, all persons usually relax with a cup of tea

Here also, the link between the premise and the

conclusion is weak. Thus this type of inductive
reasoning would lead us to clearly false conclusions
or over-generalizations.


Inductive arguments are never binding

but they may be cogent
Inductions are open unlike deductions
which are closed
Thus, the conclusion that all swans are
white is false; which may have been
thought to be true in Europe until the
settlement in Australia and New Zealand
when black swans were discovered

However, as David Hume argued, our every day

reasoning depends on patterns of repeated
experience rather than deductively sound arguments.
Eg. We believe that bread will nourish us because it
has done so in the past, but this is not a guarantee
that it will always do so.

But then, as Hume said, someone who insisted on

sound deductive justifications for everything would
starve to death. He advocated practical skepticism
based on common sense instead of severe skepticism


Here, we move from the general to the

Based on laws, theories and principles.
Not so obvious nor appealing to common
They are unreal and illusory in appearance.
Thus, reasoning based on them would have
less number of adherents

All men are mortal
I am a man
Therefore, I am mortal

According to Newtons Law, whatever
goes up must come down
Therefore, if I throw a ball up, it must
come back down