Inductive Reasoning

Inductive Reasoning is a type of formal reasoning that goes from specific to general. If the premises are assumed to be true and the conclusion is probably true as a result, the conclusion is strong. If the premises are actually true and the conclusion is strong, conclusion is cogent. With this formal argument, you are able to make predictions based on observations and trends.

What's Wrong With It?

Due to the nature of inductive reasoning, the truth behind the premises is inconsistent, which in turn makes the conclusion inconsistent. For example, if I were to say that "All Ravens are black" it would be assumed true. Even though there are in fact white ravens, because of inductive reasoning we assumed that every raven is black because that is what we think we know. The largest problem with inductive reasoning is that it creates confirmation bias. As pointed out in the example, people will assume anything to be true if they already believe it.

Types of Inductive Reasoning


The proportion Q of the sample has attribute A.
The proportion Q of the population has attribute A.

Statistical Syllogism

A proportion Q of population P has attribute A.
An individual X is a member of P.
There is a probability which corresponds to Q that X has A.

Argument From Analogy

P and Q are similar in respect to properties a, b, and c.
Object P has been observed to have further property x.
Therefore, Q probably has property x also.


Proportion Q of observed members of group G have had attribute A.
There is a probability corresponding to Q that other members of group G will have attribute A when next observed.

+Why it is used
It is used to prove a qualified claim.

Argument (AP Exam)

Inductive Reasoning will be on the AP Exam


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