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Jessica Walden

SEB101

Andrew Baker

Answer to SEB101 Philosophy of Science Question, 2014.

In science there are two fundamental concepts when it comes to logic, the deductive and the
inductive approaches. These methods of logic although strongly contrasting and sometimes
even opposing both play a major role in the world of modern science. Induction is a method
in which it is not possible to obtain the absolute truth of a conclusion, this ambiguity stems
from assumptions and premises made that are not necessarily correct. Whereas induction
cannot offer the absolute truth of a conclusion deduction ensures it. Deduction relates
premises and assumptions with the conclusion, if the assumptions made are accurate then the
conclusion will then be accurate.
Inductive reason is fundamentally uncertain. Inferences drawn using inductive logic are only
reliable according to some theory of evidence. The inductive process established by Sir
Francis Bacon is the foundation of a majority of scientific theories for example; Darwinism,
Big bang theory and Einstein's theory of relativity. The process of inductive reason can be
described as the deductive process turned upside down. Inductive reason begins by making a
specific observation, identifying if whether there is a pattern or consistencies, formulation of
a hypothesis that can be worked with and lastly the developing generalised theory or by
drawing an inference. Inductive reasoning takes shape in varying amounts of strength. Some
assumptions support inference stronger than in other cases. An example of inductive logic is
Harry leaves his house for work at 8:00 a.m. and is on time. Harry assumes, then, that he will
always be on time for work if he leaves at 8:00 a.m. Inductive reason plays a relative role in
science by opening the gateways to many possibilities as unlike deductive reasoning it does
not limit scientist to test only what they know for sure.
Furthermore although inductive logic provides more opportunities for scientific theories and
generalisations to be studied, there are flaws in its process. An obvious component of
induction that is considered problematic is that the assumptions we make in the inductive
process whilst well founded are not always correct. This is resultant from making assumption
on the properties of a category of items based on only some observations. For example Sally
over her life time sees only white swans, therefore she deduces that all swans are white,
however this is not the case as it is now an acknowledged fact that black swans exist.
Presupposing that a series of proceedings in the future take place exactly as it has in the past;
for example supposing that the laws of physics will continue as they always have.
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Jessica Walden

SEB101

Andrew Baker

The process of deduction involves the process where one reaches an inference reductively
through the application of general principles, minimising the variables that are being
considered until there is only one solution left. Since the beginning of modern science
deduction has been increasingly utilised. Since Karl Poppers solution it is no longer the
case that deduction is limited to conclusion drawn from complete truths. Today researchers
use deduction based on assumptions that more than likely to be true. The outcomes of these
assumptions are used to make further experimental tests known as hypothesises. This practice
named the hypothetic-deductive method is an essential tool in formulating scientific theories.
Through observing and collecting data a scientist or researcher uses induction to form the
probability that claims on nature are likely to be the truth. These claims or premises can then
be used to draw inferences. These inferences can then serve as a hypothesis that can be tested
and verified. A simple example of a deductive argument is; the first premise is that all things
composed of copper conduct electricity, a second premise is this pipe is made up of copper,
therefore we can conclude that this pipe will conduct electricity. Deductive reasoning today
in conjunction with inductive logic provides a useful tool for formulation scientific theories,
although before it was used in combination with induction it often closed a lot of doors in the
scientific world. Karl Popper attempted to create a solution to the problems of induction by
developing the theory of falsification. He contrived an inventive method of using deduction
to create inductive conclusions, therefore avoiding the problems presented by induction.
Induction and deduction both play a crucial role in the world of science. Although they often
strongly contrast one another when implementing Poppers solution they can be combined to
create the modern scientific method used universally today. Induction is primarily uncertain
whereas induction is definite. However the limitations of deduction make it practical to
incorporate induction into its process thus opening up to more discoveries.