Inductive Fallacy

Before moving on to inductive fallacy, Let’s take a look at inductive reasoning before moving on to inductive fallacy.

What’s Inductive Reasoning?

It is the type of logical reasoning that concludes by citing examples. Inductive reasoning seems simple at first, which is why it appeals to beginning speakers, but it can be challenging to use effectively. Inductive reasoning does not lead to true or false conclusions, unlike deductive reasoning. Instead, since inferences are made from specific instances or observations, they are classified as “more likely” or “less likely.” Even though this kind of reasoning isn’t conclusive, it can still be reliable and persuasive.

These are the fallacies of inductive reasoning or inductive fallacies:

Hasty Generalization

It occurs when there aren’t enough examples to support the generalization. Jumping to conclusions is alluring. Especially when you’re pressed for time, but the secret to being an ethical and effective speaker is to make arguments that are well-researched and supported. 

Logical Form

Sample X is drawn from population Z. Sample X represents a very small portion of population Z. Y is derived from sample X and applied to population Z.

Examples of Hasty Generalization

  • My Nana enjoys baking and drinking hot tea. When I meet your Nana, I am surprised to learn that she does not cook and only drinks soda.
  • A car with a New York license plate rear-ends you in the road. You conclude that all New York drivers are bad drivers.
  • Alissa’s classmate is a football player who is also a class clown. He is disrupting the class and failing. Alissa concludes that all football players are not serious students.

Biased Sample

When you base your argument or claim about a whole population or group of people on a sample that is somehow not representative of the whole then you have used a biased sample.

Logical Form

The biased sample S is drawn from the population P. Based on S, conclusion C is drawn about population P.

Examples of Biased Sample

  • The principal wanted to know if the school’s disciplinary procedures were egalitarian. He only questioned students in the in-school suspension class.
  • The Democratic Party wants to know how Americans feel about illegal immigration, so they sent a survey to everyone on their mailing list.
  • A university student wants to know if the campus provides adequate support for first-year students. She decides to enlist the help of her sorority sisters in the study.

False Analogy

It occurs when the situations or circumstances being compared are not sufficiently similar. The different skill sets and motivations present in the two situations being compared are not taken into account by this question.

Logical Form

Given that both Items A and B share Quality X, they must also share Quality Y.

Examples of False Analogy

  • If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we find a way to make the tax code simpler to understand?
  • People who need a cup of coffee every morning to function have the same problem as alcoholics who need their alcohol every day to remain afloat.
  • Making people register their firearms is similar to the Nazis forcing Jews to register with their government.

Appeal to Coincidence

It happens when you assume a result is the result of a coincidence despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Logical Form

Evidence points to X as the outcome of Y. However, one is convinced that X is a coincidence.

Examples of Appeal to Coincidence

  • In the past 12 months, Brian has been in 10 auto accidents. Even though the overwhelming weight of the evidence points to the contrary, he insists that it was just a coincidence and not the result of his poor driving abilities.
  • God made the world several thousand years ago. Any evidence to the contrary is merely coincidental.
  • Jim has lost his job seven times in the last six months. He claims that it is entirely irrelevant to him or his abilities and that he has just been extremely unlucky.

Suppressed Evidence

The fallacy of suppressed evidence is committed whenever accurate and relevant information is omitted for any reason.

Examples of Suppressed Evidence

  • The majority of dogs are friendly and pose no threat to those who pet them. As a result, it is safe to pet the small dog that is approaching us right now.
  • That type of car is poorly constructed; a friend of mine owns one, and it constantly causes him problems.
  • When you get digital cable, you can watch different channels on each television in the house without having to buy expensive additional equipment. However, with satellite TV, you must purchase an additional piece of equipment for each set. As a result, digital cable is a better investment.

Slippery Slope

A slippery slope fallacy occurs when someone asserts that a series of events will result in one major event, usually a bad event. In this fallacy, a person claims that one event causes another, and so on until we reach some terrible conclusion.

Logical form

If A, then B, C, and inevitably Z follow.

Examples of Slippery Slope

  • Earlier this year, a cop in New York killed a pedestrian for the following reason: Oh! Here’s a man scratching his brow in public. He’s so impolite! He’ll then pick his nose. When he boards the bus, he will spread his germs on the handrail. The next thing you know, a child’s mouth will come into contact with it. The child will then become ill. Then his entire family will become ill. There will be a disease outbreak in the city! The cop couldn’t take it any longer and pulled his gun.
  • People who consume more than six alcoholic beverages per day have a higher risk of developing health problems than those who do not consume alcohol. People lose their ability to make sound decisions after just one drink and end up drinking more and more until they are drinking more than six drinks per day. As a result, alcohol consumption should be prohibited.
  • If Texas imposes a personal income tax, I’ll leave. A state income tax is merely the first step toward communism.

The Ending Note

Inductive reasoning refers to arguments that persuade through the use of examples that lead to a conclusion. To support a compelling argument, examples must be sufficient, typical, and representative. The inductive fallacy in inductive reasoning results in hasty generalization, a biased sample, false analogy, appeal to coincidence, suppressed evidence, and slippery slope fallacies.

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