Philo Expo Paper

Philosophy 203


Expositary Paper: True Induction

Sarah Myers


With attention focused on the premise and a large quantity of evidence to support it, a high degree of certainty is possible for a premise, and will therefore make a certain conclusion. Sir Francis Bacon’s idea of true induction is a more certain scientific investigation method, than deduction. The scholastic method  (deduction) was what he was taught but within that method, he saw ideas did not advance; that is, because deduction arrives at a conclusion too quickly, focuses on conclusion, and accepts a premise with little evidence.

Coming to a conclusion to quickly means the premises are accepted as true automatically, but deduction overlooks human tendencies of the mind, and what Bacon refers to as idols. We understand that the mind’s idols such as tribe, distortions of reality the human race share; cave, the perception & bias of individual man; market, deceptive of language; and theatre, accepting what always has known to be true without question, are the false notions that can invade a scientific investigation Gradually coming to a conclusion allows us to define our approach. We can refine our notions. We can eliminate mistakes. Bacon proves that by understanding minds makes mistakes means we must focus on the premise before the conclusion if we what we desire is a certain premise.

In order for ideas to advance, we have to change the old scholastic way, and conduct a new method. The scholastic way was individualistic. Premises were proven true with little evidence. Little evidence does not provide a concrete base for a certain premise. Take for example a syllogism. Syllogism is a typical logical reasoning used in deduction. Notice the premise:

“No geese are felines.
Some birds are geese.
 Some birds are not felines.”

Bacon would point out where the mind could go wrong with an idea like this: what if there was a goose out there, somewhere, that was feline.” Here is an accepted truth, but how certain can one be if only a little evidence to support the claim is provided. This is why with true induction a great amount of evidence is required for a premise to be certain.

The focus is to be on premise because that is the root of the syllogism.

The method true induction is broader, and therefore creates a platform for concrete evidence, where the way of deduction is narrow and with little evidence, leaves great room for error.  Instead the method of true induction calls for many scientists to gather evidence and compare their work. In this way they may discover, argue, and discard false notions one scientist alone may have overlooked by forcing them to work gradually.

A gradual approach allows ideas to develop and advance. Getting to a conclusion too fast allows people to overestimate a premise. If we can find a false premise before we get to a conclusion then we will not believe false conclusions.

True induction delves deeper into the possibility that the logic may be false. Deduction simply accepts conclusion as certain without further investigation. Bacon’s idea of true induction is a better method because it comes to a conclusion gradually, with focus on premise, and with a greater amount of evidence to support the premise.







  1. Bacon, Francis, and Francis Bacon. Advancement of Learning.: Novum Organum. New Atlantis. David Price ed. Cassell, 1893. 23-32. Print.
  2.  Kemerling, Garth. “Categorical Syllogism.” Categorical Syllogism. 12 Nov. 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.2.

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