Short Essay on Deductive Reasoning Deduction is taught through the study of formal logic. Logic (both inductive and deductive logic) is the science of good reasoning. It is called formal because its main concern is with creating forms that serve as models to demonstrate both correct and incorrect reasoning. The difference is that, unlike induction, where an inference is drawn from an accumulation of evidence, deduction is a process that reasons about relationships between classes, characteristics and individuals.
Deductive arguments start with one or more premises and then reasons to consider what conclusions must necessarily follow from them. In order to understand logic, it is crucial to grasp and analyze key terms that are linked with it and explain its basics. First of all, an argument appears both in inductive and deductive reasoning. Deductive arguments involve premises that lead to a conclusion, whereas inductive ones establish premises based on experience and general evidence. Reasoning is another term linked with logic, and it describes the process of drawing conclusions, judgments or inferences from facts or premises.
Logic arranges deductive arguments in standardized forms that make the structure of the argument clearly visible for study and review. These forms are called syllogisms. Syllogisms are useful for testing the reliability of a deduction according to the rules of logic. A syllogism usually contains two premises and a conclusion. The first one is called major and the second is called minor. They are claims made in an argument that provide the reasons for believing in the conclusion. A syllogism present claims concerning a relationship between the terms given in the premises and those in the conclusion.
Their purpose is to clarify the claims of the premises, to discover and expose any hidden premises and to find out if one thought follows logically from the previous one. In inductive thinking, if the premises are true, the conclusion is only probable and could even be false. In deductive thinking, if the premises are true, and the reasoning valid, then the conclusion can not be false. Finally, the standards used for testing reliability are based on some rules that determine an argument’s validity and soundness.
Validity has to do with reasoning, and soundness with both reasoning and truth. A valid argument is one in which the conclusion has been correctly inferred from its premises whereas a sound one is one in which the reasoning is valid and the premises are both true. Whether we are aware of it or not, our thinking moves back and forth between inductive and deductive reasoning all the time. We just study them separately both for convenience and because of their different structure and standards. Inductive and deductive thinking are not isolated modes.
They interweave in our minds constantly throughout the day as we come across situations and face different problems. Yet, taking conscious notice of how are thinking moves between them has considerable advantages since we can purposely direct our minds to the mode that is more appropriate. Thus, we have a greater probability of arriving at better decisions. And even if we are disappointed with the results of our decisions, at least we know that we made a conscious choice from which we learnt.