I think it was in junior high that I first saw this illustration of inductive vs. deductive reasoning:
Deduction was associated with math and pristine abstraction: Plato, Euclid. Induction is messier and experimental: Francis Bacon, Aristotle.
But in the same breath, people usually point out that we’re always doing both. As a species, we figure stuff out and communicate it to each other by going up and down, back and forth. We experiment, we theorize, we try again, and each direction supports the other.
In the last couple of days I’ve been reminded that higher ed makes a similar circuit, except that here the interaction may not be so constructive:
When left alone we learn experientially: we try stuff out, notice whether it works, predict whether that means a different approach should or should not get a better result. From specific cases up to general rules.
But when it’s time…
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