The place of induction in science

Philosophy of Science 27 (3):262-270 (1960)
The place of induction in the framing and test of scientific hypotheses is investigated. The meaning of 'induction' is first equated with generalization on the basis of case examination. Two kinds of induction are then distinguished: the inference of generals from particulars (first degree induction), and the generalization of generalizations (second degree induction). Induction is claimed to play a role in the framing of modest empirical generalizations and in the extension of every sort of generalizations--not however in the invention of high-level hypotheses containing theoretical predicates. It is maintained, on the other hand, that induction by enumeration is essential in the empirical test of the lowest-level consequences of scientific theories, since it occurs in the drawing of "conclusions" from the examination of empirical evidence. But it is also held that the empirical test is insufficient, and must be supplemented with theorification, or the expansion of isolated hypotheses into theories. Refutation is not viewed as a substitute for confirmation but as its complement, since the very notion of unfavorable case is meaningful only in connection with the concept of positive instance. Although the existence of an inductive method is disclaimed, it is maintained that the various patterns of plausible reasoning (inductive inference included) are worth being investigated. It is concluded that scientific research follows neither the advice of inductivism nor the injunction of deductivism, but takes a middle course in which induction is instrumental both heuristically and methodologically, although the over-all pattern of research is hypothetico-deductive
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DOI 10.1086/287745
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