induction and inductive logic
induction and inductive logicthe process in which a general statement, suggesting a regular association between two or more variables, is derived from a series of empirical observations. In contrast with ‘deductive’ arguments, in which a conclusion follows logically from initial premises (logical inference – see LOGIC), no such strict logical necessity exists in connection with induction, even though, following MILL's formulation (see COMPARATIVE METHOD), this is some times referred to as inductive logic. The reason why no strict necessity exists in connection with inductive statements is that inductive argument depends upon generalization from a series of known cases: ‘A1 is b, A2 is b, A3 , is b, etc.’ to suggest that, therefore, any A is likely to be b. The views that scientific statements are only justifiable by further procedural rules such as FALSIFICATION or by ‘realist’ criteria, (see REALISM), arise in this context. See also EMPIRICISM, POPPER.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000