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).


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.


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.