**Mathematical induction** is a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish that a given statement is true for all natural numbers (positive integers). It is done by proving that the **first** statement in the infinite sequence of statements is true, and then proving that if **any one** statement in the infinite sequence of statements is true, then so is the **next** one.

The method can be extended to prove statements about more general well-founded structures, such as trees; this generalization, known as structural induction, is used in mathematical logic and computer science. Mathematical induction in this extended sense is closely related to recursion.

Mathematical induction should not be misconstrued as a form of inductive reasoning, which is considered non-rigorous in mathematics (see Problem of induction for more information). In fact, mathematical induction is a form of rigorous deductive reasoning.

Read more about Mathematical Induction: History, Description, Axiom of Induction, Example, Variants, Complete Induction, Proof of Mathematical Induction

### Famous quotes containing the words mathematical and/or induction:

“The most distinct and beautiful statement of any truth must take at last the *mathematical* form.”

—Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

“One might get the impression that I recommend a new methodology which replaces *induction* by counterinduction and uses a multiplicity of theories, metaphysical views, fairy tales, instead of the customary pair theory/observation. This impression would certainly be mistaken. My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is rather to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits.”

—Paul Feyerabend (1924–1994)