Friday, February 20, 2015


This is how I explained deductive and inductive reasoning to my students..

Deductive reasoning:

Say you are at home watching television. The first show to come on is “McCloud’ or “Starsky and Hutch” or “CSI” Anyway it is a detective show. A crime has been committed. The lead actor or rather lead detective looks at the clues.

He is using deductive reasoning. He starts with a conclusion, the victim. He clearly has been murdered. The detective looks for motives, opportunity, and means. He works from a conclusion backwards looking for evidence to support the conclusion. Detectives use deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning

Back to the television. The next program after the detective show is a suspense drama movie. Doris Day or Deana Durbin or some heroine is in danger. She has received poisoned chocolates which the poor dog ate and died. Someone tried to run her over with a car. Someone barely missed her with a rifle shot. She comes to the conclusion that someone is trying to kill her. Her reasoning is much different than that of the detective. She takes close call number one, close call number two and close call number three and decides that she is in danger. She is moving toward a conclusion.

The detective on the first program started with a conclusion and worked backwards. In the suspense drama, the heroine worked toward a conclusion.

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