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Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning

  1. Oct 15, 2015 #1
    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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  3. Oct 15, 2015 #2


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    Yes it's inductive. It is not deductive because the conclusion cannot be deduced from the given premises.
  4. Oct 15, 2015 #3


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    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
    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
    All members of my family love pizza
  5. Oct 16, 2015 #4
    @Geofleur: thank you for those examples and the explanation. That really helped!

    @andrewkirk: thanks for confirming that!
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