Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning

Main Question or Discussion Point

So, I'm having some trouble with differentiating between inductive and deductive reasoning. I understand the basic principle—inductive is going from specific to general, and deductive is going from general to specific—but I don't know if I'm right when I apply my understanding to actual arguments. For example, I think this statement is inductive reasoning: "The Women's Liberation Movement has made great strides in recent years, and many women have been elected to political offices. Judging by these accomplishments it is likely that the next American President will be a woman." Would that be a correct? Thanks in advance for any help!

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andrewkirk
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Yes it's inductive. It is not deductive because the conclusion cannot be deduced from the given premises.

Geofleur
Gold Member
It's not good to define inductive reasoning as that from specific to general and deductive as general to specific. Inductive arguments are those whose premises do not guarantee the truth of their conclusions, while a deductive argument, if it has true premises, must have a true conclusion. Here is an example of an inductive argument that reasons from general to specific:

Most of the people I've met don't like tuna
I've just met a new person
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This new person doesn't like tuna

Here is an example of a deductive argument that reasons from specific to general:

My father loves pizza
My mother loves pizza
I love pizza
My brother loves pizza
My family consists of my mother, father, brother, and myself
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All members of my family love pizza

aikismos and toboldlygo
@Geofleur: thank you for those examples and the explanation. That really helped!

@andrewkirk: thanks for confirming that!