12 julio, 2024

Inductive arguments: what it is, types, examples

What are inductive arguments?

The inductive arguments They are a method of reasoning in which from a premise that takes particular cases into account, a general conclusion is reached. Inductive arguments go from the particular to the general (also called bottom up).

This way of reasoning is based on experience and observation by the one who argues. For example:

Juan buys cat food.
Pedro also buys cat food.
Juan and Pedro must have cats as pets.

Being based on direct experience, the conclusion of inductive argumentation is usually correct, but not necessarily 100% true. Let’s see another example:

Parrots and macaws fly.
Ducks and herons fly
Probably most birds fly.

We know that not all birds fly (ostriches and penguins don’t), but that doesn’t make this reasoning wrong.

In short, an inductive argument is any one that, starting from particular premises, proposes a general conclusion. These arguments are commonly used in statistical analysis, such as surveys, in police investigations, and in everyday life.

Types of inductive arguments

There are three types of inductive reasoning: by generalization, by causation, and by analogy.

Inductive arguments by generalization

It is when a general affirmation is projected or concluded from a smaller percentage. This reasoning is frequent in surveys and statistical analyses.

For example:

A study conducted with 1,000 people in a city of 5,000 inhabitants determined that two hundred would vote for a cleaner environment.
It is likely that 20% of the city’s population wants a cleaner environment.

Inductive arguments from causation

They are those reasonings that are guided by the cause/effect pattern, between the premises and the conclusion. For example:

Every time there are dark clouds over the eastern mountains, it rains in the town.
Today there are dark clouds over the eastern mountains.
It will probably rain in the town today.

Inductive arguments by analogy

From coincidences in certain quality of similar subjects, a conclusion is extrapolated to a whole group of elements. For example:

Pablo’s Doberman is brave; Ana’s Doberman is also brave.
The Dobermans I know are brave.
Probably all Dobermans are brave.

Differences with deductive arguments

Inductive arguments go from the particular to the general (bottom up), while the deductive ones go from the general to the particular (top down). For example:

All children cry when they are hungry.
John’s baby is crying.
The baby must be hungry.

Juan and his parents have dark hair.
Maria and her parents have dark hair.
Juan and Maria’s son probably has dark hair.

The premises in an inductive argument lead to new information in the conclusion. Instead, the conclusion of a deductive argument must follow entirely from its premises.

In the case of the example of the crying baby, the conclusion does not provide new information; On the other hand, in the second case it does contribute, because no child is mentioned in the premises, and therefore this is new information.

Inductive arguments are guided by experience and observation, while deductive arguments are part of logical reasoning. The formulation of a deductive argument can be valid or invalid, while the inductive argument can be probable or improbable. For example:

All red apples are sweet.
I have a red apple.
Therefore the apple I have is sweet.

Pablo’s sister speaks English.
Pablo’s parents speak English.
Pablo probably speaks English.

Examples of inductive argumentation

Example 1

On Tuesday the temperature dropped and it did not rain.
Wednesday and Thursday the temperature dropped and it did not rain.
If the temperature drops again on Friday it is likely that it will not rain.

Example 2

Marcela is from Argentina and likes to drink mate.
Franco is Argentinian and likes to drink mate
It is likely that most Argentines like to drink mate.

Example 3

10% of those surveyed said they would vote for Pepe.
It is probable that 10% of the voters will vote for Pepe.

Example 4

Saúl is a teenager and he likes video games.
Elena is a teenager and also likes video games.
It is likely that all teenagers like video games.

Example 5

The Pemón speak a language of Caribbean origin.
The Yekuanas speak a language of Caribbean origin.
It is probable that Pemón and Yekuana have a common origin.

Example 6

Juana drinks a lot of coffee and has trouble sleeping.
Pedro drinks a lot of coffee and has trouble sleeping.
Coffee is likely to make it difficult to sleep.

Example 7

M hated L and lived with him.
I hated L and also lived with him.
M and C are suspected of having killed L

Example 8

In my country the price of the dollar rose.
In my country most of the food is imported.
Food prices are likely to rise as well.

Example 9

León got 10 in physics, 8 in mathematics and 4 in languages.
León is probably better with numbers than with grammar.

Example 10

In 2021 several private companies sent civilians into space.
A Russian actress and producer also traveled to space to film a movie in 2021.
Space travel may soon be as normal as air travel.

Example 11

A tuna needs water to breathe.
A trout needs water to breathe.
Groupers need water to breathe.
Probably all fish need water to breathe.

Example 12

Japanese children like manga.
Mexican children like manga
Spanish children like manga.
Probably all children like manga.

Example 13

Rosa is Colombian and is very hard-working.
Eduardo is Colombian and he is a hard worker.
Colombians are probably very hard workers.

Example 14

Juan had Covid-19 and was very serious.
Diana’s father had Covid-19 and died.
Well-known people, like General Colin Powell, had Covid-19, and died.
Covid-19 is probably a very dangerous disease.

Example 15

40% of the population believes that the economic situation is bad.
12% believe that the economy will not improve.
The economy is probably very bad.

Example 16

Enrique’s cat eats fish.
Mariana’s cat eats fish.
Possibly all cats like fish.

Example 17

Raúl is vegan and does not eat eggs.
Laura is vegan and doesn’t eat eggs either.
In vegan stores they do not sell eggs.
Vegans do not eat eggs.

Example 18

Yesterday, passing by the lake, I threw a stone into the water and it produced ripples.
This morning I threw another stone and it produced ripples.
When I passed the lake this afternoon there were ripples.
Someone probably threw a stone into the water.

Example 19

There is no wheat flour in the main supermarket.
There is also no wheat flour in the nearby stores.
My mother called and says that there is no flour in her neighborhood either.
There is probably a shortage of wheat flour throughout the city.

Example 20

Francisca drank tap water and got a stomach ache.
Alberto drank tap water and also felt bad.
The tap water is probably not in good condition.


Hernández Ortiz, H. and Parra Dorantes, R. (2013). Problems on the distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning and its teaching. Taken from scielo.org.mx.
Rodriguez Jimenez, E. (2021). inductive argument. Taken from objetos.unam.mx.
Marin Garcia, A. (2021). inductive argument. Taken from economipedia.com.
Deductive and Inductive Arguments (2021). Taken from iep.utm.edu.
Types of inductive arguments (2017). Taken from agrega.juntadeandalucia.es.

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