Prompt #1: Examples of Inductive Inference
Prepare: To prepare to answer this prompt, take another look at Chapter 5 of our book, paying close attention to the names of the various forms of inductive inference. Types of inductive inference: Appeals to authority, Arguments from Analogy, Inductive Generalizations, Inferences to the Best Explanations, and Statistical Syllogisms
Write: To answer the prompt, create or find one example each of three different types of inductive inference. Clearly indicate as well which type of inductive inference it is. For each of your arguments, include an analysis of its degree of strength using the evaluative methods we learned in the chapter for that type of argument.
One of the most common inferences in life is the inference to the best explanation (sometimes called abductive reasoning). We use this type of reasoning to infer what would best explain the things that we see. Chapter 5 in our book demonstrates ways in which this type of reasoning helps us to explain the world around us.
Prepare: Choose a topic that is difficult or controversial to explain. Some good topics include hoaxes, unusual sightings (e.g. UFOs, bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster), the supernatural or paranormal, events that are the subject of conspiracy theories, unsolved crimes or other court cases, etc.
Reflect: Do a little research to find a specific topic and learn about explanations on both sides. Consider what you think might best explain the observed facts of the case.
Write: Explain the topic you chose and why it is interesting or controversial. Present good arguments on more than one side of the issue (e.g. competing explanations of the facts). Analyze both arguments that you have presented. Then present your own argument for your theory that you feel will best explain this phenomenon. Are there any holes in your theory? Is there any information that would be likely to strengthen or weaken your case?
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