When a person reflect, organize your ideas and come to a conclusion, you will have developed a reasoning. According to the type of mental process carried out, it is possible to differentiate between different kinds of reasoning.

Inductive, for its part, is what is linked to induction (the process that leads to obtaining a general conclusion from specific or particular premises).

Inductive thinking

Inductive reasoning starts from particular premises to reach a general conclusion.

What is inductive reasoning

A inductive reasoning, therefore, consists in considering various individual experiences to extract from them a beginning broader and general. It is important to bear in mind that, despite starting from true premises, the conclusion may turn out to be false. That inductive reasoning leads to a true conclusion is just a probability, the degree of which varies according to the number of premises considered and their characteristics.

An example of inductive reasoning is as follows: “Lionel Messi is Argentine and plays soccer / Sergio Agüero is Argentine and plays soccer / Gonzalo Higuaín is Argentine and plays soccer / All Argentines play soccer”. As can be seen, inductive reasoning is valid, but its conclusion is false (not all Argentines play soccer).

In other cases, inductive reasoning may lead to a conclusion true: “Laura jumped into the sea and came out wet / Carlos jumped into the sea and came out wet from the water / Marcela jumped into the sea and came out wet from the water / All the people who jump into the sea come out wet from the water”.

At first glance, it is correct to affirm that inductive reasoning can be considered the opposite of deductive, insofar as the latter starts from a general premise to arrive at a particular conclusion. Similarly, in neither case does the validity of the premises condition the value really from the conclusion.

Thought

Inductive reasoning can be valid and yet arrive at a false conclusion.

Bacon’s contributions

This method of the philosophy Modern originated in the «Novum organum«, The most important work of Francis Bacon (see image), a 16th century British philosopher, who believed that science was a technique that provided human beings the power to dominate nature. This book, which was published in 1620, shortly before his death, is also known under the title «Indications regarding the interpretation of nature«.

On “Novum organum«, Francis Bacon seeks to show in a systematic way how important is the inductive argument to form scientific knowledge, thus opposing the deductivism, which prevailed in his time. To do this, it begins by explaining the concept of induction relying on the thought of Aristotle, according to who was “a transit that takes us from the individual to the universal.”

Bacon delves into this definition, explaining that the objective is to achieve the axioms on which correct reasoning is based starting from the particular events and senses, rising progressively and continuously to finally find the most general principles, something that – he adds – had not yet been tested, although it was the right way to go.

Elements of inductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning is the method that Bacon believed useful to discover the arts and sciences, and for this he assured that it is necessary to analyze the nature, eliminating and excluding according to the case, to find, after having found a sufficient number of negative facts, the affirmative ones.

The three elements of Bacon’s method for applying inductive reasoning are as follows: the presence table, where the facts are listed in which the phenomenon, trying to show a great variety to maximize the vision of the study; the absence table, where those events in which the phenomenon is not present are collected; the degree table, which shows the events in which the phenomenon appears, with different intensities.