Inductive vs. Deductive ReasoningDate: 07/24/2001 at 17:16:23 From: Angie Subject: Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning I'm sure this is a simple question, but can you help me with the differences between inductive and deductive reasoning? To me, the explanations I have seen sound virtually the same. Date: 07/24/2001 at 21:53:44 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning Hi, Angie. Inductive reasoning starts with specific examples or observations, and "deduces" (a confusing term) the apparent rules or patterns that lie behind them. It's what a scientist or detective uses; it's never completely certain, because the next observation might contradict the theory, or at least require us to modify it. But it does connect our conclusions to the real world around us. Deductive reasoning starts with the rules, and determines what the consequences will be. This is what we do in most of math, defining the rules for a mathematical entity (such as the commutative property of addition), and using those to prove that other, more complicated, facts are true. Here, we can be absolutely sure of our conclusions - as long as we assume the axioms are true. We would have to use inductive reasoning to decide whether our assumptions make sense in the world we live in, where it isn't safe just to assume anything! I went to the Dr. Math search page and entered the words inductive deductive to see what we have said before. Here's a longer explanation with examples: Logic: Definitions http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/55620.html - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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