PHI103 W3D2

Strengthening and Weakening Inductive Inferences

One interesting thing that we have learned about inductive inference is that it is never final. New information can come along to further strengthen or weaken an inductive inference. This exercise gives you some practice in seeing how inductive reasoning can be strengthened and weakened with new information.

Prepare: To prepare for this prompt take a look at Chapters 5 and 6 in our book, paying special attention to the section titled “Inductive Strength” (including the section “A Closer Look: Using Premises to Affect Inductive Strength”).

Reflect: Find an inductive argument that occurs in some online source (make sure to cite the source) or think of one that you have heard used in your life. Consider its strength and how it might be strengthened or weakened in light of further information.

Write: Present an example of inductive reasoning. Comment on the strength of the inference. State a premise that could be added that, if true, would strengthen the inference. Now list another premise that could be added that would weaken it again. Now add another premise that could be added to strengthen it yet again. Continue this process even more times if you are enjoying the process and find it interesting.

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