Wednesday, September 2, 2015

why induction is not foolproof

an example of inductive reasoning: 

a, b, c & d are observed to be true therefore a may be true.

(a is a reasonable explanation for b, c, & d being true).

ex:

p1: A large enough asteroid impact would create a very large crater and cause a severe impact winter that could drive the non-avian dinosaurs to extinction.
p2: We observe that there is a very large crater in the gulf of Mexico dating to very near the time of the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs
_____________________
c: Therefore it is possible that this impact could explain why the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct.

note: see that c is not necessarily the case, other events also coincide with the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

remember: inductive reasoning is inherently uncertain. it only deals in degrees to which, given the premises, the conclusion is credible according to some theory of evidence.

2 comments:

Miguel Graveran said...

This is actually rather helpful, thank you Professor. Hope to see more posts such as these as we transition through the course.

atRifF said...

tx, miguel.