Inductive Generalization
  • uses specific examples to draw general conclusions. People use inductive generalizations to observe situational patterns which they project on new cases.

What pattern do you see in the following premises?

  • In the 1950s, one out of five households in North Bay had a television set.
  • In the 1970s, four out of five households in North Bay had a television set.
  • In the 1990s, there were 1.5 television sets for every household in North Bay.

Possible Conclusions:

  • The ratio of television sets to households has increased over time.
  • The ratio of television sets to households will increase in the future.
  • People in North Bay like watching television.
Inductive Generalization Example

When p occurs, the most observed is q

p occurred

q will probably occur

When I tidy my room, my parents are often happy.

I tidied my room this morning.

My parents will probably be happy

Statistical Induction
  • It is similar to inductive generalization since it moves from specific cases to draw a general conclusion. The specific cases, however, are based on statistical information. Predicts something will happen with numerical probability
Statistical Induction Example

A is the population

B is the population of careful eaters with heart disease.

Some percentage of all A’s will become B’s.

A has x% chance of being a B.

70% of careful eaters avoid heart disease.

Bill is a careful eater.

Bill has a 70% chance of avoiding heart disease.

Induction by


  • A hypothesis is suggested and certain observations must be made if the hypothesis is to be considered acceptable.
  • The hypothesis is tested by observing if evidence exists to support it.

  • Philosophers suggest theories about ethics, society and the universe, they then look for arguments and reasons to support or deny their hypotheses.
  • The legal system relies heavily on induction by confirmation. A police detective hypothesizes that a suspect has committed a crime. The detective looks for evidence to support or deny that hypothesis.
Hypothesis: Jim robbed the corner store.
Observations expected: Whoever robbed the store will have a motive, opportunity, and means.
Observations noted: Jim needed money, was in the area, and was found with a replica of a gun.
Conclusion: There is evidence supporting the hypothesis that Jim robbed the corner store.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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