What are the procedures of induction?

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Science gives us systematic knowledge. Scientific explanation is dependable, for it adopts a viable technique.

The technique that is adopted in science is the most assured or adequate technique that has been explored in course of man’s intellectual inquiry.

This technique is the inductive procedure. Every branch of science explains facts, classifies them, builds up theories to explain the facts, systematizes the theories with higher ones, discovers exceptionless regularities of nature etc. by adopting the inductive procedure.

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Thus the procedure of induction is the basis of all scientific knowledge for it is applied in all areas of scientific inquiry. The procedure of induction passes thorough some well- marked stages.

Though logicians are not unanimous regarding the relative importance of a stage over others, nonetheless they do agree that each stage of the procedure has some important role and helps in the system of scientific knowledge.

The different stages of inductive procedure are (i) observation of facts (ii) formation of hypothesis, (iii) generalization and (iv) verification. Let us explain them little elaborately.

(i) Observation:

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When there is inquisitiveness to know something, we make observation. Thus observation is perception, but it is regulated and selective perception. It is in this sense different from casual perception for in observation we select the phenomena to be observed for a definite purpose. Observation here is used in a wide sense to include experiment as well.

Observation and experiment constitute the ground of making any inductive generalization or scientific explanation. To have a clear idea about some fact, we selectively choose from the complex occurrence of nature those phenomena that will help us in our study.

Thus observation is the starting point to explain a fact that we desire to know. Observation again includes steps like definition, analysis, elimination and varying the circumstances.

a. Definition:

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The observer first makes his point clear what he is gong to observe for his purpose in a situation. Since nature appears very much complex and at times very baffling the observer makes his selection of the phenomena that he will take note of for his work. This clarity and definiteness with which one begins his observation is called definition.

b. Analysis:

The second step in observation is analysis of the situation. Since nature presents complex situations, the observer simplifies it. He resolves a complex situation into its constituent conditions.

Then the observer selects those phenomena necessary for his purpose and avoids other accidental factors.

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That is after breaking up a complex situation the relevant conditions are picked up for the investigation. Since I an event consists of different conditions, or irrelevant factors selecting the relevant matters for study or explanation is very important.

c. Elimination:

In the process of observation then comes elimination. Elimination literally means rejection. In the process of investigation to explain a phenomenon the inessential or irrelevant factors need to be eliminated or rejected so as to facilitate for required observation. Since analysis distinguishes the essential conditions from the irrelevant ones, the irrelevant conditions are rejected by this analysis.

d. Varying the circumstances

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To reject the accidental or irrelevant conditions it is necessary to separate them from the necessary and relevant conditions. To know which conditions are relevant and which are not, it is necessary to vary the circumstances.

That can be done by observation of the circumstance under different changing situations. That is if an event is studied under the changing situations, then the observer may be able to know which of the conditions are important to explain a phenomenon.

Thus all the above steps are considered important to undertake systematic observation for an objective study of some circumstance. Francis Bacon lays great emphasis on observation.

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