Argument and Inference
An Introduction to Inductive Logic
288 pp., 6 x 9 in, 42 line drawings
- Published: January 6, 2017
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A thorough and practical introduction to inductive logic with a focus on arguments and the rules used for making inductive inferences.
This textbook offers a thorough and practical introduction to inductive logic. The book covers a range of different types of inferences with an emphasis throughout on representing them as arguments. This allows the reader to see that, although the rules and guidelines for making each type of inference differ, the purpose is always to generate a probable conclusion.
After explaining the basic features of an argument and the different standards for evaluating arguments, the book covers inferences that do not require precise probabilities or the probability calculus: the induction by confirmation, inference to the best explanation, and Mill's methods. The second half of the book presents arguments that do require the probability calculus, first explaining the rules of probability, and then the proportional syllogism, inductive generalization, and Bayes' rule. Each chapter ends with practice problems and their solutions. Appendixes offer additional material on deductive logic, odds, expected value, and (very briefly) the foundations of probability.
Argument and Inference can be used in critical thinking courses. It provides these courses with a coherent theme while covering the type of reasoning that is most often used in day-to-day life and in the natural, social, and medical sciences. Argument and Inference is also suitable for inductive logic and informal logic courses, as well as philosophy of sciences courses that need an introductory text on scientific and inductive methods.