Drawing on work in epistemology and the philosophy of science, this paper seeks to provide very general reasons for why a comparative perspective needs to be applied to the inferential procedures of research methodologies where these concern the issue of justifying knowledge claims. In particular, the paper explores the role of culture on a number of important patterns of reasoning that figure in inferential arguments in research methodologies. The patterns examined are induction, both enumerative and analytical, hypothetico-deductive reasoning, and abductive inference. In each case it is argued that substantive theories about the world, including cultures, significantly affect inferential procedures. Examples chosen to illustrate this in more detail mostly reflect the impact of Confucian heritage cultures on inference. Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
philosophy of science