The key difference between inductive and deductive reasoning is that the inductive reasoning proceeds from specific premises to a general conclusion while deductive reasoning proceeds from general premises to a specific conclusion.
Reasoning is the process through which you reach a logical conclusion after thinking about all the relevant facts. There are two types of reasoning; they are inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. The former refers to the process of deriving generalizations from specific observations while the latter refers to the process of drawing specific conclusions from general statements/observations. A premise in this aspect, is a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion.
What is Inductive Reasoning?
Inductive reasoning is a logical process where multiple premises (all believed true or found true most of the time) are combined to obtain a specific conclusion. In other words, it refers to deriving generalizations from specific observation. The bottom-up reasoning and cause and effect reasoning also refer to inductive reasoning. This type of reasoning is typically based on a person’s ability to recognize meaningful patterns and connections.
For example, suppose you have observed that your friend’s lips start to swell when she eats seafood. You have noticed this on several occasions. Then you come to the conclusion that she is allergic to seafood. You have deduced this conclusion through the process of inductive process. First, you have gained data through your observations, and then you have reached a generalization. However, inductive reasoning can never lead to absolute certainty. It only allows you to say that the claim is more likely to be true than not, according to the examples provided for support.
In order for your conclusion to be credible, it is important to consider,
- Quality and amount of the data
- Existence of additional data
- Relevance of necessary additional information
- Existence of additional possible explanations
What is Deductive Reasoning?
Deductive reasoning (top-down reasoning) is a logical process where a conclusion is based on the concordance of multiple premises that are generally assumed to be true. This type of reasoning involves drawing specific conclusions from general statements (premises).
Given below is an example of an argument using deductive reasoning.
- All horses have a mane
- Thoroughbred is a horse
- Therefore, thoroughbreds have manes.
This kind of reasoning is sometimes known as a syllogism. The first premise states that all objects classified as “horses” have the attribute “mane.” The second premise states that “thoroughbred” is classified as a “horse”. Then the conclusion states that “thoroughbred” must have a “mane” because he inherits this attribute from his classification as a “horse.”
What is the Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning?
Inductive reasoning is a logical process where multiple premises are combined to obtain a specific conclusion. Deductive reasoning, on the other hand, is the opposite of inductive reasoning. It involves drawing a conclusion based on the concordance of multiple premises. Most importantly, inductive reasoning moves from specific premises to a general conclusion while deductive reasoning moves from general premises to a specific conclusion. This is the main difference between inductive and deductive reasoning.
Moreover, in deductive reasoning, one can prove that conclusions are valid if the premises are true. However, in inductive reasoning, conclusions may be incorrect even if the argument is strong and the premises are true.
Summary – Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning
Inductive and deductive reasoning are two contrasting methods of reasoning. Inductive reasoning refers to the logical process of deriving generalizations from specific observations while deductive reasoning refers to the logical process of drawing specific conclusions from general statements/observations. This is the main difference between inductive and deductive reasoning.