Inductive reasoning is actually a form of inductive logic, where the premises are seen as providing some evidence, yet not complete certainty, for the conclusion of the argument. In inductive reasoning, it is not possible to derive a conclusion from the available evidence alone. For example, we can’t conclude that Santa Claus exists simply by assuming that there is indeed a Santa Claus.
Of course, we can use our own inductive reasoning to arrive at our own conclusions. For example, we could say that Santa Claus exists, and then use other assumptions to derive the rest of our conclusion. However, this is not very helpful, since we have now “invented” the concept of Santa Claus! There is no real evidence that he exists! How could we derive our conclusion from his existence?
To see what I mean, let’s assume that we want to derive the proposition that Santa exists. We can then use our inductive reasoning in the form of deductive reasoning. If we look at the premise “There is a Santa Claus”, we will find that the premise is actually dependent on two other premises: “There is a Santa Claus” is true if “There exists a Santa Claus”.
To make a long story short, we can’t derive the conclusion “Santa exists” from the data we have collected from these other premises alone. We have to use our inductive reasoning, or a different form of inductive reasoning, in order to do so.
To give you an example, suppose we are trying to determine whether or not “There is a Santa Claus”. If we assume that we have found the “Proof” that there is such a person, then we are done with our inductive reasoning. However, suppose we take the opposite view and assume that we haven’t found the “Proof”.
We can then use our inductive reasoning in order to infer that there isn’t a Proof. and we will find that by deducing from the lack of a proof, we can prove our case for our position – i.e., we have a “proven” our position.
Inductive reasoning isn’t as complicated as some people make it out to be. It doesn’t take any more time than you would think, and in fact, it’s pretty easy to learn, as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
There are plenty of good examples of inductive reasoning that you can apply to your situation. Let’s look at a few of the most popular.
The most basic idea is the most popular. We all have seen movies like “The Santa Clause” where a guy goes to Santa’s Workshop and asks him if he has a real present – in exchange for letting him hang around his workshop.
Now, you may be thinking that he’ll be able to convince him – but the problem is that he has no convincing power. This is where a little bit of inductive reasoning comes in.
Once the guy gives Santa his present, Santa will tell him that if he gives another one – he’ll get another present. Now, if this was true, then he should keep asking Santa if he’s got a real present – which will lead him to the workshop.
When he keeps asking Santa until he gets a real present, you’ll realize that there really is no way for Santa to get another one. Now, since we know that he hasn’t got one, we can conclude that Santa doesn’t exist!