Induction vs deduction

  • Compare induction and deduction with reference to scientific inquiry 

Learn.

Inductive reasoning: Drawing a general conclusion from seeing specific observations

Deductive reasoning: Creating a theory to generate a hypothesis to then be supported or rejected based on specific observations.

From our past experiences, it has been observed that there are phenomena which reoccur the same way as previously.

Induction is the process through which past experiences can be used to determine or predict a future outcome. We use these for our day to day activities. This could be as simple as buying a close friend a type of tea such as an English breakfast tea. Previous specific past encounters with this person allowed you to generalise they liked English Breakfast tea. From these specific encounters, you were able to generalise that they always like English Breakfast tea i.e so you bought them this type of tea. You cough when you eat peanuts. These are both examples of inductive reasoning. 

However, inductive reasoning can be incorrect – even though it seemed logical that past encounters they had English Breakfast tea so future encounters they will have tea – you may have only ever met them in the morning before and now you were buying them a tea in the afternoon when they drink coffee. Hence specific previous past cases is not always the best way to formulate a general rule.

Therefore, inductive arguments are only likely to be true if the string of arguments used to make the point is logical. From this paradox’s can occur. 

Abduction is also a commonly used method to draw a conclusion. This is used more so by Doctor’s peacing together symptoms to establish a probable illness and detectives coming to an explanation which explains all the evidence they gathered – this is what Sherlock Holmes used to draw a conclusion. Abduction is finding the best explanation for the evidence at hand. This is done by eliminating the lesser theories to arrive at the best explanation. The conclusion drawn by abductive reasoning can still be incorrect like inductive reasoning, however, it is more likely to be correct then inductive reasoning.

Deductive reasoning is always true. It is making a specific prediction from a generalised understanding. For example, the generalised statements; all fruits have seeds and all mangoes are a type of fruit – from this, a deductive conclusion is that all mangoes have seeds. This is true.

Memorize.

Inductive reasoning: Drawing a general conclusion from seeing specific observations

Deductive reasoning: Creating a theory to generate a hypothesis to then be supported or rejected based on specific observations.

Master.

Question 1.

Compare and contrast inductive and deductive reasoning, using examples. [6 marks]

Question 2.

In your project or science in general, provide examples of when inductive and deductive reasoning has lead to breakthrough in scientific understanding. [8 marks]

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