What are Deductive and Inductive Arguments?

What Does Deductive and inductive arguments Mean

We explain what deductive and inductive arguments are, how to differentiate them and examples of each one.

Concluding that the Earth is round because all planets are is a deductive argument.

What are deductive and inductive arguments?

Deduction and induction are two opposing methods of logical reasoning , which consist respectively of going from the general to the particular and vice versa. Therefore, deductive arguments and inductive arguments are the types of arguments that are formulated according to each of these different methods.

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The arguments , in their entirety, start from establishing a logical connection between their premises and their conclusions . But this route can be carried out, in principle, according to these two lines of reasoning, each of which implies different characteristics:

  • The deductive arguments. In them, the conclusions are necessarily inferred from the premises, following a series of logical steps. This means that they are conclusive arguments, seeking to affirm a truth in all possible cases.
  • Inductive arguments. On the contrary, in these arguments the conclusions are sustained in the veracity of the premises, but cannot guarantee their certainty, so they are inconclusive arguments. In other words, these arguments allow the assumption of probable conclusions, but do not provide certainty as to whether they are met in all cases.

Obviously, both cases of reasoning are important and can yield valuable results, although in the case of deductive these results must be either valid or invalid, depending on the validity of the premises and the correct deductive logic.

On the contrary, the results of inductive reasoning cannot be measured in terms of validity or invalidity, since more than anything they affirm the probability of its conclusions.

It can serve you: Argumentative text

How to differentiate deductive and inductive arguments?

When distinguishing between deductive and inductive arguments, it is best to pay attention to their internal logic and the language used to formulate them, as follows:

Deductive argumentInductive argument
  • They stand on logical bases, step by step.
  • They start from general premises and arrive at a specific conclusion.
  • They aspire to be conclusive.
  • The relationship between its premises and its conclusions is of necessity, and it is absolute.
  • The conclusions do not depend on anything that is not in the premises.
  • They lack a logical basis, they are sustained by intuition and generalization.
  • They start from specific premises to recompose a general conclusion.
  • They aim for a certain probability.
  • The relationship between its premises and its conclusions is one of probability, and is subject to different degrees.
  • The conclusions depend on elements outside the reasoning.

Examples of deductive arguments

Here are a couple of examples of deductive reasoning:

  • Syllogisms are an example of deductive reasoning, as understood by Aristotle. For example:

Premise : Planets are round.
Premise : The earth is a planet.
Conclusion : The earth is round.

  • Other forms of deductive arguments are some of those that apply in the empirical sciences. For example, the famous Pavlov experiment, in which the Russian scientist established the relationship between the dog's saliva and the sound of the bell:

Premise : The dog salivates before eating.
Premise : I ring a bell before feeding the dog, long enough.
Conclusion : From now on, the dog salivates when hearing the bell, because he has associated it with food.

Examples of inductive arguments

Here are some examples of inductive reasoning:

  • An everyday situation: we open the window and see clouds in the sky. From this premise, we draw a possible conclusion: "it's going to rain . " We are not sure that it will happen, but judging by what we know about the world and the climate , we see it quite likely.
  • Suppose we leave the house and see the bakery closed. We walked a bit more, and the butcher shop didn't open either. We go ahead and neither did the supermarket. So we come to the conclusion that all businesses are probably idle .
  • A German goes to a Peruvian restaurant and the food is delicious; Another day he goes to a Mexican restaurant and the food is delicious; another day he goes to a Venezuelan restaurant and the food is delicious. Finally he concludes: Latin American food is delicious , even though he knows and understands that those three countries do not make Latin America all.
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