Lecture Notes.

Module Twelve: Session Three

Induction: Hypotheses

Introduction to Hypotheses

A hypothesis is a formulation designed to explain observations, and to give a framework for testing. With a hypothesis one begins with evidence and looks for the probable cause. The logical forms discussed in this section is the basis for the "scientific method." This is discussed more at the end of this section.

A hypothesis is set up in the following way:

  • Here are the data (or observations). What could account for this? or What could have caused this?
  • Reasoning leads me to believe that the most probable cause for these observations is X.
  • So, If X is the cause, then these observations would follow.
  • Notice that we now have a hypothetical claim in the standard form, If P, then Q, where P is the probable cause and Q is (are) the observation(s).
  • Notice also that we are working backwards from the necessary condition to the sufficient condition.
  • In other words the purpose of the hypothesis is to best determine what the sufficient condition is based on what the necessary condition is.

Continue on for more on hypotheses.

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