Table 6: Example from the Chapter “The Nature and Scope of Logic,” S. Morris Engel

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Table 6:  Example from the Chapter “The Nature and Scope of Logic,” S. Morris Engel

Deductive Inductive
All the beans in that bag are black. All these beans are from that bag. All these beans are therefore black. All these beans are from that bag. All these beans are black. All the beans in that bag are therefore black.

Engel makes a distinction between both terms.

An inductive argument has a conclusion that is based on probability that can never be certain; elements within the conclusion can have some truth to them, but the truth depends upon whether or not the probability is high or low (41). Engel states, “In inductive arguments, we assert in the conclusion a fact not itself contained in the premises” (41). In contrast, the conclusion of a deductive argument is reached by reasoning from general to specific; “. . . the premises in a deductive argument contain all of the information needed in order to reach a conclusion that follows with necessity” (Engel 41).

In other words, in a deductive argument, we need the premises to match the conclusion, because the conclusion is dependent upon the premises. However, in an inductive argument, we need the premises, but the conclusion is determined based upon likelihood. It is likely that all the beans in that bag are therefore black, but not certain.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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