# Conclusion or a hypothesis

The process of induction is whereby one deduces a theory, conclusion or a hypothesis from a sample or observation. It is the process of deriving general principles from particular facts or instances. Induction is not truth preserving. An example of a conclusion brought about by induction could be as follows: (1) Most children like sweets (2) Tabitha is a child Therefore from statements (1) and (2) you could inductively say: (3) Tabitha likes sweets The mark of an inductive argument is that its conclusion could be false even if its premises are true.In the above example, both statements (1) and (2) could be true but it does not necessarily mean that (3) is true. Tabitha, although a child, may dislike sweets. A valid inductive argument is one whose premises provide good reasons to believe its conclusion, like the above example. A valid inductive argument whose premises are true is known to be a sound inductive argument.

Deduction however works the other way around. It could perceive to be a “top-down” approach. You begin with a theory about a topic of interest and then narrow down the theory into more specific hypotheses that can be tested.You then collect observations to address the hypotheses, which ultimately leads to being able to test the hypotheses with specific data, which can confirm whether the original theory is true. A deductive statement is as follows: (1) A pig is a mammal (2) All mammals have respiratory systems Therefore from (1) and (2) you deduce that: (3) Pigs have respiratory systems Deductive arguments, like inductive arguments, have premises and conclusions.

The mark of a deductive argument is that if its premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.Inductive reasoning, by its very nature, is more open-ended and exploratory than deduction. Deductive reasoning is narrower in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. Even though a study may look like it is purely deductive, most research involves both inductive and deductive reasoning at some time in the project.

For example, during an experiment a researcher may observe a pattern in the data that leads them to develop new theories. It was believed by many that science relied upon inductive reasoning and inductive arguments.However, Karl Popper refused to accept that induction was essential to science. He wanted to show that science could proceed without induction. Prior to Popper, another philosopher Hume had thought that although induction was irrational, it was essential to science. Popper agreed with Hume that induction was indeed irrational but not essential to science.

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The way in which Hume had come about to this view of induction being irrational was due to the ‘logical problem of induction’.If a coin was dropped 10 times and each time the coin fell to the floor, Hume questioned whether or not the coin would fall to the floor on the 11th occasion. We tend to believe that the coin will indeed fall to the floor because we presuppose that nature is uniform and Hume postulated that we have no rational basis for believing that nature is uniform and that the fact we do is simply a matter of irrational habit. Therefore, inductive reasoning seems to rest upon an irrational foundation.

Although induction is irrational, it is essential to our everyday lives. We need it to live; otherwise we wouldn’t walk or sleep. (1) When I have walked, the ground hasn’t swallowed me (2) I am walking Therefore: (3) The ground will not swallow me If it weren’t for induction I would not walk because the ground may swallow me although so far it hasn’t. If we try to justify induction by means of a deductively valid argument with premises that we can show to be true (without using induction), then our conclusion will be too weak.

If we try to use an inductive argument, we have to show that it is reliable. Any attempt to do that leads to the same dilemma all over again. Popper characterised the psychological problem of induction as the problem of saying how our predictive expectations arise. The problem is not necessarily psychological in the sense of involving the formation of belief formation, because beliefs are not the only form that expectations may take. Expectations, for example, are built into the way that vision works at a level below our conscious awareness.

And primitive animals, like ants and snails, have predictive expectations while it is implausible to suppose that they have beliefs in the same sense as us. Popper had agreed with Hume that induction was irrational, but for that very reason Popper refused to accept that it was essential to science. Popper had come to the problem of induction with science when he was attempting to distinguish between science and pseudo-science. It was widely agreed that science was distinguished from pseudo-science by its empirical methods, which is proceeding from observation, or by induction.Popper had trouble with this view of thinking, as he believed that it was something other than induction that separated science, such as physics, from pseudo-sciences, like astrology. Scientists come up with a hypothesis of the form all Xs and Ys.

They then try to find an X that is not a Y. If they find one, then they will know with full certainty that the claim all Xs are Ys is false- for they know that there is at least one X that is not Y. There is no induction here; all the inferences made are deductive.From the falsity of a conclusion it is deductively valid to infer that one of the premises are false. An example of this could be: (1) John chooses the prettiest girl (2) He can choose Alice or Bethany, Alice being prettier (3) John will choose Alice If John did not choose Alice but Alice was in fact prettier then it deductively follows that the premise that he will choose the prettiest girl (1) is false.

Therefore two things arise. The first is that falsificationism is the demarcation criteria for science and the second is that science does not make use of induction.

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