Deduction vs. Induction - Essay Example

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A deductive argument is inherently stronger than an inductive argument for a couple of reasons. The first is that a deductive argument may be…
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Deduction vs. Induction
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Deductive and inductive arguments form two es of argument that serve different purposes and come about in different contexts. A deductive argument is inherently stronger than an inductive argument for a couple of reasons. The first is that a deductive argument may be defined as an argument in which it is impossible for the premises to be true but the conclusion false. Accordingly, there is a necessary relationship and sufficient reason to go from premises to the conclusion of the argument. The conclusion of a deductive argument is treated as definitive. On the other hand, an inductive argument is an argument in which the premises are expected to support the conclusion such that if the premises were to be true (which is an assumption of the arguer), it is merely improbable that the conclusion could be false in that case. Therefore, instead of there being a necessary connection between premises and conclusion, as there is in the case of the deductive argument, the connection between premises and conclusion in the inductive argument is probabilistic.
We may structure an inductive argument as follows:
P1: Isaac Newton was British.
P2: British people live in England.
P3: People from England like tea.
C1: Isaac Newton liked tea.
In the example given, it is possible for the conclusion to be false, even if all three of the premises are true. In other words, it is possible for an argument that lacks deductive validity to be inductively valid. For instance, perhaps Newton lost his taste for tea after being struck on the head with an apple, which, according to the story, he was drinking on that occasion. Although inductive inferences may be uncertain, they are probable. That is, it is very probable that Isaac Newton liked tea. However, it is not certain based solely from the evidence given in P1-P3. Moreover, unlike deductive arguments, inductive inferences give us more information than what is contained in the premises. Careful use of inductive arguments is necessary for any field of research outside of those that rely on basic truths and assumptions.
We may structure a deductive argument as follows:
P1: All men are mortal.
P2: Isaac Newton was a man.
C1: Isaac Newton was mortal.
In the argument given, both of the premises are true. Consequently, it is simply not possible for the conclusion to be false. If the deductive argument has all true premises, and a false conclusion, then an error has been made and the argument lacks deductive validity. Conversely, one cannot accept the truth of the premises without accepting the truth of the conclusion. The relationship between the premises and the inference is that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true. Even if the premises might not actually be true, the relationship between the premises and the conclusion does not change, and even if the evidence for the conclusion is flawed, the argument is valid. Read More
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