This type of reasoning does not use a form of logical syllogism. Rather the inductive conclusion is determined by a combination of gathering specific information with previous knowledge and learned experience. One of the more famous users of inductive reasoning (mistakenly refered to as 'deductive') is the character, Sherlock Holmes.
|Here's an example of Inductive Reasoning:
From "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doylehttp://www.citsoft.com/holmes/adventures/speckled.band.txt
Other Forms of Inductive Reasoning
Generalization: A general statement is made based upon observations of specific members of a particular group. When the observer makes specific observations as the basis of a general conclusion, an inductive leap, is made.
Analogy: A conclusion is drawn by arguing that there are distinct similarities between two different events.
Yet Another Form of Inductive Reasoning
Inference: When conclusions are drawn from known or assumed facts or statements.
Statistical Inference: Whenever conclusions are made that something is true of a population as a whole because it is true of a certain portion of the population (ie., polling samples).
Where inductive reasoning is generally refered to as a "bottom up" thought process deductive reasoning is known as a "top-down" thought process. The first (major) premise is a statement of general truth. The second (minor) premise contains a statement of specific/particular truth. The conclusion is a synthesis of the realtionship between major and minor premises. And as long as the first two premises are true, the conclusion will be sound and true.
A standard example:
1) All men are mortal
2) Michael Collins was a man
Therefore, Michael Collins was mortal
In the movie, A Few Good Men, Lt. Daniel Caffee challenges the assertions made by the commander of Guantanamo Bay, Col. Nathan Jessup, about the death of PFC William Santiago. One of the logical arguments made is this...
1) Orders at Gitmo are followed to the letter
2) Col. Jessup gave a standing order that PFC Santiago should not be harmed
Therefore, PFC Santiago was safe from harm and did not need to be transferred
Through a series of statements and questions, Lt. Caffee argues that Santiago's death, at the hands of two marines, proves that Jessup's syllogism contains a false premise. Indeed, Caffee's questioning brings about Jessup's confession that he'd actually ordered a 'Code Red' for PFC Santiago.
This form of reasoning is similar to induction. As a form of critical thinking, abductive reasoning looks for patterns in a phenomena that suggest a possible hypothesis. Generally speaking, abduction is based on observed phenomena where some elements of the situation are missing.
Margaret is walking down the street. As she passes a set of apartment buildings, she notices that a cloud of smoke is coming out of a third floor window. Without a second thought she reaches for her cellphone and calls for the fire trucks. After the trucks arrive a grease fire is put out.
What Maggie sees is smoke coming out of a window rather than a chimney. What she guestimates from the location and the amount of smoke is that there is an unwanted fire in the apartment.
see: Charles Sanders Pierce <http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/mem19.html>