Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to utilize your deductive or inductive reasoning skills.

In science, deductive reasoning is utilized to reach a rational and accurate conclusion. Another kind of reasoning, called inductive, is also widely employed. Many people mistake deductive reasoning for inductive reasoning. However, significant distinctions distinguish these two ways to reach a logic-based conclusion.

What is Deductive Reasoning?

It is the process of making and proving a general assertion by specific examples or facts. It is often thought of as a “top-down” approach to making conclusions.

Deductive reasoning: what is it?

Deductive reasoning runs from general to specific. We begin by thinking about the hypothesis on a topic of significance; then, we narrow it down to the more precise hypotheses we can test. We also narrow it down by collecting evidence to test the hypotheses. The result is that we can test hypotheses with specific data that prove our initial theories (or perhaps not).

Examples of deductive logic:

  • Every man is mortal. Joe is the man. So, Joe has a mortal. If the two first assertions are true, the conclusion must be valid.
  • Bachelors are men who have never married. Linx is not married. So, Linx is a bachelor.
  • To earn a Bachelor’s degree at a university, students need to have 150 credits. Wesley holds more than 200 credits. Thus, Wesley has a bachelor’s degree.
  • The numbers ending with 0 or 5 can be divided by 5. The number 35 ends with 5; therefore, it has to divide by 5.
  • Every cat has an acute sense of smell. Zinx is a cat, which means Zinx has an acute scent.
  • Noble gases of all kinds are extremely stable. Helium is a noble gas; therefore, helium is stable.

Another example of classic deductive reasoning is the formula:

When A = B and B = C, then A = C.

Invalid Deductive Reasoning

In the case of deductive reasoning, it’s possible to overgeneralize. In these instances, even with two established and valid arguments, deductive reasoning could go wrong. Here are some examples of exactly that:

  • All mothers are caring. Jane is caring; therefore, Jane is a mother.
  • Every pastor is handsome. James is handsome; therefore, James is a pastor. 

In all of these cases, the premises may likely be correct; however, the conclusions are based on invalid assumptions. In these cases, the equation A + B does not necessarily mean the sum up to C. In fact, C is an overgeneralization.

Let’s consider the James example; because James is handsome, does that mean he must be a pastor? 

Strengths and Limitations of Deductive Reasoning

Let’s examine deductive reasoning by taking a review of its strengths as well as its weaknesses.

Strengths of Deductive Reasoning

Helps substantiate decisions

Deductive reasoning can be utilized to prove the validity of the decisions made, including those that relate to work. In the event that the choice does not produce the desired outcomes, You can still justify the reason for your decision through rational and objective reasons.

It is reliable when it follows that the original premise is true

Another benefit to deductive reasoning is that the conclusion is almost certainly accurate if the premises of the beginning are true in every situation as long as the logic used is valid.

Weaknesses of Deductive Reasoning

It relies on the first assumption being true.

Deductive reasoning is heavily based on the initial premises being correct. The final argument will be invalid if even one of the premises is found to be untrue.

What is Inductive Reasoning?

Inductive reasoning refers to the practice of using specific situations to draw generalized conclusions. Sometimes referred to by the term “cause-and-effect reasoning,” inductive reasoning is often thought of as a “bottom-up” approach.

The inductive method is the reverse of the deductive method and moves from specific observations to more extensive theories and generalizations. In inductive reasoning, we start with particular measures and observations before we begin to look for patterns, then formulate some hypotheses that we could investigate before finally formulating general conclusions or theories.

Inductive reasoning: what is it?

Inductive reasoning examples:

  • This cat is black. That cat is black. The third cat is black. Thus all cats are black.
  • This marker from the bag is black. That marker from the bag is black. A third marker from the bag is black. Therefore all the markers in the bag are black.

Let’s look at some instances of reasoning that is inductive. When we’ve looked at the reasoning inductively first, we’ll flip it and see what it looks like in the form of deductive reasoning.

  • Inductive Reasoning The first article I saw on ReelNat was a self-development article. The second article was also an article on self-development. So all the articles on ReelNat are self-development articles. 
  • Deductive Reasoning The first article I came across on ReelNat was on self-development. All the articles I have seen and read on ReelNat are self-development articles. So, the next article I’ll come across on ReelNat will also be an article on self-development.  
  • Inductive Reasoning: Lagatha is a shelter dog. She is aggressive. Every shelter dog is aggressive.
  • The Deductive Reasoning: Every shelter is aggressive. Lagatha is a shelter dog; therefore, she is aggressive.

See how in each instance that deductive reasoning can be more convincing (assuming that the first two premises are valid). In every case, the inductive reasoning could be valid. However, they’re missing sufficient evidence to prove it accurate; more samples would be needed.

Strengths and Limitations of Inductive Reasoning

Let’s look at inductive reasoning by looking at its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths of Inductive Reasoning

Probability of occurrence

One of the main benefits of inductive reasoning is the ability to explore a variety of probabilities, thereby expanding your knowledge and perception despite the absence of research available.

Encourages exploration

Inductive learning begins with an observation and then progresses into exploration to test the knowledge gained.

Weaknesses of Inductive Reasoning

Limited scope

The drawback to reasoning inductively is the fact that conclusions are drawn from particular situations that might not behave significance in the real world.

Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning 

Deductive reasoning employs general rules to draw decisions about specific situations. Inductive reasoning analyzes patterns in specific situations to draw conclusions regarding general rules.

Difference Between Deductive and Inductive Reasoning definition

Deductive reasoning is a method of reasoning which begins with general statements and leads to a logical conclusion. Inductive reasoning is the method of reasoning that shifts from particular observations to larger, broadening conclusions.

General vs. Specific

Deductive reasoning involves the movement from general to specific, while inductive reasoning requires the transition from specific to general.


Deductive reasoning is the top-down approach. Inductive reasoning is the bottom-up method.


Deductive reasoning implies that the final conclusion must be valid if the premises are correct; however, in an inductive approach, the validity of premises does not always ensure the validity of conclusions.


Inductive reasoning is the most common method used in our daily lives because it’s speedy and straightforward to use; however, deductive reasoning is more challenging as we require large amounts of truthful information.

Read More: Objective And Subjective Reasoning: How It Affects Our Decisions

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Applications of Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

  • Deduction may also be temporarily employed as a test for induction by applying it to other areas.
  • A scientific law that is sound and reliable is extremely generalized as it is in Inductive reasoning and can be used in a variety of instances to explain the causes of other phenomena.
  • Deductive reasoning can be used to derive many results from tests and establish the generality of rules.


The process of inductive reasoning can also be referred to as hypothesis construction since any conclusions drawn are based on current information and forecasts. Like deductive arguments, biases can alter the use of the inductive argument making it difficult for the thinker to make the best logical conclusion based on the evidence.

Availability Heuristic

The availability heuristic leads people to rely primarily on information that is easily accessible. People tend to trust information that is readily available all around them. This could lead to bias in reasoning using inductive methods.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias stems from the tendency of nature to confirm rather than deny an existing hypothesis. For instance, for many years, it was considered that both the sun and the planets orbit the Earth.

Other Types of Reasoning

Inductive and deductive reasoning isn’t the only kinds of reasoning. There are other types of reasoning, such as Abductive reasoning, Backward induction, as well as Critical reasoning. Let’s examine the different types of reasoning:

  • Abductive reasoning is when you take a set of observations and use a theory to explain them. This is very similar to how doctors work on patients by taking symptoms to make a diagnosis.
  • Backward induction analyzes the end result and the different choices that led to this conclusion. Artificial intelligence uses it to beat the odds in games.
  • Critical thinking employs analysis and evidence to arrive at an educated decision. It is used daily to make choices and evaluate choices in literature, science, and more.


If you don’t begin using evidence and facts, Your deductive or inductive reasoning could quickly transform into an assumption. This is what we usually strive to avoid in everyday life. A hypothesis is a great way to begin; it is an idea that can be transformed into a fact and then follow the guidelines of deductive reasoning.

Consider this route if you’re asked to write an argumentative piece. Of course, the aim isn’t to engage in an argument but rather to decide on a position and provide evidence to support your argument. Do not leave any room for speculation.

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