Induction

Lillian’s great-uncle Richard visited from Taiwan. He brought for Lillian a box of special biscuits. The cover of the box had many animals on it. The biscuits inside were individually packed in opaque foil wrappers. In fact, all the biscuits were identical – a kind of stylised dragon fish.

Lillian opens her first biscuit wrapper. “Look! A mermaid!”

The next day, upon opening her second: “Another mermaid!”

And on the third day, opening another one: “This one is a mermaid too! Maybe they all mermaids!”

[Aside: This is “technically” known as inductive reasoning, generalising from a sample to the entire population from which that sample was drawn. Of course she has been doing this kind of thing for a while, but this was a crystal clear case.]

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