The term “inductive reasoning” refers to reasoning that takes specific information and makes a broader generalization that is considered probable, allowing for the fact that the conclusion may not be accurate.
Understanding Inductive Reasoning
There are varying degrees of strength and weakness in inductive reasoning, and various types including statistical syllogism, arguments from example, causal inferences, simple inductions, and inductive generalizations. They can have part to whole relations, extrapolations, or predictions.
Some examples of inductive reasoning include:
- Jennifer leaves for school at 7:00 a.m. Jennifer is always on time. Jennifer assumes, then, that she will always be on time if she leaves at 7:00 a.m.
- The cost of goods was $1.00. The cost of labor to manufacture the time was $.50. The sales price of the item was $5.00; so, the item always provides a good profit.
- Every windstorm in this area comes from the north. I can see a big cloud of dust caused by a windstorm in the distance; so, a new windstorm is coming from the north.
- Bob is showing a big diamond ring to his friend Larry. Bob has told Larry that he is going to marry Joan. Bob has bought the diamond ring to give to Joan.
- The chair in the living room is red. The chair in the dining room is red. The chair in the bedrrom is red. All chairs in the house are red.
- Every time you eat peanuts, your throat sweels up and you can’t breath. So, you are allergic to peanuts.
- All cats that you have observed purr. Therefore, every cat must purr.
- Two-thirds of the students at this college receive student aid. Therefore, two-thirds of all college students receive student aid.
- All of the girls in the class were blond, therefore all girls in this neighborhood are blond.
- Michael just moved here from Chicago. Michael has red hair, therefore people from Chicago have red hair.
- The children in that house yell loudly when they play in their bedroom. I can hear children yelling in that house, therefore the children must nbe playing in their bedroom.
- All chickens that we have seen have been brown; so, all chickens are brown.
- All cars in this town drive on the right side of the street. Therefore, all cars in all towns drive on the right side of the street.
- John is an excellent swimmer. John’s family has a swimming pool. John’s sister Mary must also be an excellent swimmer.
- All basketball players in your school are tall, so all basketball players must be tall.
- All brown dogs in the park are small dogs. Therefore, all small dogs are brown.
- All children in the day care center like to play with Legos. All children, therefore, enjoy playing with Legos.
- Ray is a football player. All football players weigh more than 170 pounds. Ray weighs more than 170 pounds.
- All observed houses on the South Street are falling apart. Sherry lives on South Street. Her house is falling apart.
Now you can see how inductive reasoning works and the types of things you can discern using inductive reasoning.