Inductive Arguments

Inductive reasoning derives its inferences from specific observations to generate a general principle.  For example, I might say that I have a coin in my bag; therefore, all the money in my bag is in the form of coins. However, there is no enough or logical reason to justify that the remaining money is in the form of coins. Based on my understanding of Hume’s problem of induction, I would not find the inference rational because even though human beings think inductively, we are not sure of what is inside the bag. We indeed use our experiences to give grounds on what we do not know, but that does not justify an inductive inference. It is impossible to justify that because we experienced a certain thing, we will also experience it in the future. It is unjustifiable because we do not know what the future holds and cannot observe it.

Besides, inductive reasoning can be pretty good but still predict a false inference. For example, suppose I repeatedly remove coins from my bag at several instances, for the first, second, up to the fifth time. In that case, it could predict a general inference that all the money is in the form of coins because I have removed it coins several times. However, based on Hume, it is still possible that the conclusion is false because there is no guarantee, and we have not observed what is inside.

Howbeit, such a conclusion can be termed to be almost true if there is a pattern of uniformity in nature or similar effects arise from similar causes. For instance, if the bag has several pockets or is partitioned into two, and I always separate my money into coins and notes, an inductive inference would be true. It would make sense if the premise states that all the money removed from this pocket are coins; therefore, all the money in this pocket is coins. This would be possible because there is some pattern of uniformity that I always separate coins from notes.

Popper attempts to solve Hume’s problem of induction by refuting that induction is not used in science. He claims that science is not dependent on induction but on testing and validating hypotheses. Hume’s problem questions the inductive theories, logic, and procedures that inform general theories formed from the generalization of experience. Popper addresses the question by claiming two things about science. Firstly, he asserts that there is no correct inductive procedure or logic to show the theories’ truth. Secondly, scientists do not obtain their theories from inductive reasoning; they obtain them as conjectures, after which they test the hypotheses to falsify or refute them. Hypotheses that align with the predictions are accepted as true.


I find the solution sound because scientific theories are not just formulated and accepted as true without empirical studies. For a theory to be accepted, it is first tested repeatedly by different researchers, and the results have to be consistent. In other words, it must be reliable and valid. Inductive generalization is based on assumptions or unobserved things; hence, the solution is sound. Besides, science is not based on mere reasoning but also on facts, which is a premise that has been confirmed to be true. Also, there are no hypotheses; an inference is made to form a conclusion, which is different from science. Therefore, Popper’s solution tends to counter the assumption and belief that scientific theories are formed from inductive reasoning. It gives a sound solution that science is based on empirically tested assumptions before being accepted as true.