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Could someone give three examples of inductive and deductive reasoning?

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted September 18, 2013 at 2:10 PM via web

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Could someone give three examples of inductive and deductive reasoning?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:02 PM (Answer #1)

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In order to understand what sorts of examples you might make up, think first about what these two types of reasoning entail.

In deductive reasoning, you start with some general premises that you believe to be true.  Once you have determined what things you believe to be true, you decide what outcomes or facts are implied by those premises.  For example, you might say

  • I believe that God exists and that God is both omnipotent and good.  Therefore, God will not allow bad things to happen in the world without having a good reason for doing so.
  • I believe that taxes reduce the amount of economic activity in our economy.  Right now, there is not enough economic activity.  Therefore, we must reduce taxes.
  • I know that all people are mortal.  I know that I am a person.  Therefore, I know that I am mortal.

In this sort of reasoning, you start with premises that you believe to be true (whether they have been proven or not) and you reason from them to specific outcomes.

In inductive reasoning, you start with some observations of things that are clearly true.  You then try to make a theory from those observations.  You are taking specific facts and trying to explain them.  For example,

  • I see three animals of a certain species over there.  They are all black.  Therefore, I can induce that all members of that species of animal are black.
  • I have known two girls who were bad at math.  Therefore, I can induce that all girls are bad at math.
  • I have observed that many people who commit crimes are poor.  Therefore, I can induce that there is something about poverty that causes people to commit crimes.

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