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Inductive Reasoning from Patterns

Making conclusions based upon observations and patterns.

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Seafood and Swans- Inductive Reasoning

Science and the Swan

Inductive reasoning is defined as making conclusions based on examples or patterns. Inductive reasoning can also be described as starting from a specific sentence and using it make a general statement. 

Credit: User: FlickrLickr
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Goose.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Credit: User: Ltshears
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TrumpeterSwan.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Black Swan vs White Swan [Figure2]

Most natural sciences utilize inductive reasoning, such as biology and ecology, even though it can have its problems. Before the black swan was discovered in Australia, for example, most scientists believed a definite characteristic of the swan was being a white bird. Because people had only seen white swans, inductive reasoning would say swans are only white, but because black swans were discovered, this reasoning was proved incorrect.

Credit: User: Frank C. Müller
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Garnelen_im_Verkauf_fcm.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Are you sure you want that seafood plate? [Figure3]

We use inductive reasoning constantly in everyday life. Let’s say you and your friends are deciding on where to go for dinner. One of your friends suggests seafood, but the last four times you ate seafood you got sick. Using inductive reasoning, you assume that seafood just doesn’t sit well with you, and you’re probably going to decide against your friend’s choice.

Creative Applications

1. When can inductive reasoning prove useful?

2.How is inductive reasoning faulty? How can it be proved wrong?

3. What are some other examples of inductive reasoning in everyday life?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: User: FlickrLickr; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Goose.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: User: Ltshears; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TrumpeterSwan.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  3. [3]^ Credit: User: Frank C. Müller; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Garnelen_im_Verkauf_fcm.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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