Discussion questions





Discussion 1

This week we are learning about the power of inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is not only extremely common, but it can also provide very good evidence for conclusions. This discussion prompt allows you to present an inductive version of the argument that you have been developing in this course.(This is the argument that I have been developing: Is it important to teach arts and humanities to children?)

Prepare: To prepare to write this discussion, read Chapters 5 and 6,(see attached file) focusing especially the section on “Strengthening Inductive Reasoning” in Chapter 5. Take a look as well at the required resources from this week, including What is a Strong Argument?( see attached video file)

Reflect: Create a new (and improved) version of the argument that you have been developing throughout this course. Try to make sure that all of your premises are trueand that your reasoning is inductively strong. Again, consider how someone with the opposite point of view might criticize your argument and see if you can improve it to avoid those objections.

Write: Present your argument in standard form and explain any weaknesses that might remain. A weakness could mean a premise that many might disagree with or questions about the strength of the inference. Indicate briefly how you might address those weaknesses to strengthen your argument further. What further information might strengthen your argument the most?



Discussion 2

We have learned in Chapter 5 of our book that inductive inference is the most common kind of inference of all. It happens every day in each of our lives. This discussion will give each student a chance to create examples of common forms of inductive inference. 

Prepare: To prepare to answer this prompt, take another look at Chapter 5 of our book, paying close attention to the names of the various forms of inductive inference. See attached chapter 5and 6 file)

Reflect: Think about examples you have seen of each type of inductive inference in daily life. Consider the relative strength of such inferences in light of the methods of evaluation that you learned in the chapter.

Write: To answer the prompt, create or find one example each of three different types of inductive inference that we learned in Chapter 5. Clearly indicate as well which type of inductive inference it is. For each of your arguments, include an analysis of its degree of strength using the evaluative methods we learned in the chapter for that type of argument.


BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY this is for discussion 2

Inductive Cogency

Premise One: Bottled water tastes good.

Premise Two: Water is bottled from streams.

Conclusion: Therefore, water from streams tastes good.


This is an example of the premises being strong and it has a clear connection with the conclusion. While the conclusion is false, because not all streams water tastes good, the connection between the premises and conclusion all connect. The strength here is in the premises rather than the conclusion as the text suggests. This type of argument can easily be torn apart using other methods such as deductive reasoning simply by pointing out that some streams are contaminated. One valid point would be that while the water is bottled at the source of the stream, there is no mention that the water gets treated before consumption.

Statistical Syllogism

Premise One: Harvard has the lowest acceptance rate of 5.2% for incoming students graduating in 2020 (Berke, 2016).

Premise Two: John applied to Harvard.

Conclusion: John was rejected by Harvard.


This is an example of statistical syllogism because the statistical fact is correct. There is only this small piece of information and none about those students who were or were not accepted into Harvard for the 2016 fall semester. John is a representative of a student who applied to Harvard for the Fall 2016 semester. The conclusion does not support the premise of this type of inductive argument and can be disproven if only one John was admitted. Statistically this argument is strong and one can inductively conclude that John would not get into Harvard.


Berke, J. (2016, April 5). Harvard's acceptance rate has fallen to a record low. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/harvards-acceptance-rate-falls-to-record-low-2016-4

Appeal to Authority

Premise One: The contractor said the walls are rotten from the inside because of a crack and mold and need to be torn down.

Premise Two: The contractor is an authority figure over this area and knows what needs to be done.

Conclusion: Therefore, the walls must be torn down.

This is an inductive reasoning example of argument from authority or appeal to authority. Here the contractor hired is claiming that the walls in the house are rotten due to a crack and mold present. This person is an authority figure in this area and can tell the customer what needs to happen to fix the problem. The conclusion is that the walls must be torn down to fix the problem. Here, this inductive argument can be refuted using a deductive argument if the authority figure in question is trying to get more money out the customer or is in fact not as knowledgeable in this area as he claims. This argument is not as strong as it could be. With added information of the contractor’s license and experience in this area would strengthen the argument and make it harder to refute.




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