more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 19462

[catalogued under 14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction]

Full Idea

Inductive reasoning covers all cases in which we pass from a particular statement of fact, or set of them, to a factual conclusion which they do not formally entail. The inference may be to a general law, or by analogy to another particular instance.

Gist of Idea

Induction passes from particular facts to other particulars, or to general laws, non-deductively


A.J. Ayer (The Problem of Knowledge [1956], 2.viii)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'The Problem of Knowledge' [Penguin 1966], p.72

A Reaction

My preferred definition is 'learning from experience' - which I take to be the most rational behaviour you could possibly imagine. I don't think a definition should be couched in terms of 'objects' or 'particulars'.