Dr. Martin Hash Podcast

Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

679 Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning


If any philosophy is to be taken seriously, it must be logically understandable. There are basically three kinds of logic: deductive, inductive, and abductive. Deductive reasoning follows three if-and-then steps, called a syllogism, in which two statements reach a logical conclusion, for example: all men are mortal, and you are a man, then you are mortal. Syllogisms require knowledge to determine truth.

When you don't have any knowledge, use Inductive reasoning, which makes broad generalizations from specific observations; for example: the first three coin flips were heads therefore the next one will be. Unfortunately, we all knows how that turns out if you rely on the outcome. Though not a proof of truth, Inductive reasoning is useful for creating hypotheses which could be turned into Deductive reasoning.

When you only have partial knowledge, Abductive reasoning is what doctors and lawyers use; for example, if a dog is alone in a room all day, a person might conclude that the dog ate the pie on the counter, but that's only the most likely scenario; maybe someone else ate the pie, or it was a mistake and the pie wasn't really there. Diagnoses uses this technique, and people in juries consider a preponderance of evidence, and personal anecdotes don't count. Faulty reasoning explains most of what's wrong with the world.


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