When assessing the quality of an argument, a researcher or student would ask whether its inductive or deductive. Both types of arguments are used in scientific research. The difference between deductive and inductive arguments focuses on the strength of the evidence yet differ with regard to the standards of evaluation applicable to them.
Knowing the difference between inductive and deductive logic will ensure you make valid arguments. Besides, different logics or approaches are used to distinguish good arguments from bad ones. However, the two types of reasoning are often confused. That is why we have compiled this post to point out deductive vs inductive argument and give examples for each.
What is an Inductive Argument?
It is reasoning where the premises support the hypothesis, conclusion or probable. This type of argument is also known as bottom-up or cause and effect reasoning because its primary function is first to prove a generalized conclusion.
It starts with a probable conclusion and induces premises. Since this type of logic is based on specific instances, as a result, it produces weak and invalid arguments. It’s ideal to use this type of argument/reasoning when there is a lack of available literature.
Some of the strengths of inductive arguments are:
- Allows the researcher to work with a wide range of possibilities. This helps to expand the knowledge base.
- Encourages exploration because it begins by making an observation and moves to the investigation as a way to test the judgment made.
- The main disadvantage of inductive reasoning is that its limited in scope, and most of the time, it has no significance in the real world.
Despite having weak conclusions, this type of reasoning is popular in academia. Since the premises necessitate the conclusion, deductive reasoning results in either valid or invalid arguments.
What is a Deductive Argument?
It’s a reasoning method of backing up a generalized statement with logical facts. The statement presented in an argument is assumed to be true, and thus both the premise and conclusion are valid.
In a deductive argument, the premises provide strong support to the conclusion. Therefore, if an argument's premises are true, the conclusion cannot be false. A deductive argument is also known as top-down reasoning because it starts with generalization and works its way down into something true and specific.
Inductive reasoning can be categorized into four stages:
- Start with an existing theory/observation
- Use the observation/theory to formulate a hypothesis
- Collect data to test the hypothesis
- Analyze the results to determine whether the data supports or rejects the hypothesis
Some of the strengths of a deductive argument include
- Provides logical and objective explanations; thus, it helps to substantiate daily decisions
- The conclusion is often guaranteed to be true, especially if the premises are true
The main weakness of deductive arguments is that they rely heavily on correct initial assumptions. Even if one hypothesis is found to be incorrect, the final argument will be invalid. Logicians prefer this type of argument because it results in solid conclusions despite being only applicable in limited circumstances.
What Is An Example Of Deductive And Inductive Arguments?
An example of an inductive argument would be: Every swan I have seen is white. Therefore all swans are white. The first sentence is a premise, while the latter is a conclusion. Since there are black swan species, the conclusion, in this case, is wrong/false. As a result, this argument is weak.
Other inductive reasoning examples are:
- That volcano has erupted almost after every millennium. It last erupted in 999 (This sentence is a premise). The conclusion would be the volcano will erupt again soon.
- All birds discovered in this genus have white tails (premise). Any newly discovered fish in this genus will have a yellow tail (conclusion).
A good example of a deductive argument is: All birds have feathers, and penguins are birds. Therefore, penguins have feathers.
Other examples include:
- Everyone in this class is an art major. Mary is in this class; therefore, she is an art major.
- Chicken are birds, and all birds lay eggs. Therefore chickens lay eggs.
- Animals that lay eggs are birds. Snakes lay eggs. Therefore snakes are birds. Based on this example, it’s clear that the premise is incorrect. Consequently, it leads to a wrong/invalid conclusion.
What Is The Difference Between Deductive And Inductive Arguments?
The main difference between these two types of arguments is that inductive reasoning uses the bottom-up method in that it moves from specific observation to generalization. On the other hand, deductive reasoning uses the top-down approach of starting with general statements and moving to a particular conclusion.
Let’s evaluate the deductive vs inductive argument.
- Deductive uses the top-down approach while inductive uses the bottom-up reasoning approach.
- Deductive reasoning moves from general to specific, while inductive reasoning moves from specific to general.
- A deductive argument is reliable, while inductive is limited in scope and may not apply in the real world.
- In deductive reasoning, the conclusion is certain, while it is probable in inductive.
- Deductive reasoning is difficult to use since it requires facts, while inductive is easy to use and is often applied in our daily lives.
The trick to understanding the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning is to look at inductive as a form that starts with a specific premise that leads to a general conclusion. On the other hand, deductive reasoning begins with a general hypothesis that results in a specific conclusion.
Logic is divided into two broad methods of reasoning: deductive and inductive. In inductive argument, specific observations or premises are believed to be true and are used to draw a conclusion. It starts with generalization and works its way to the theory.
On the other hand, a deductive argument begins by looking at an existing theory and using it to formulate a hypothesis. Data is then collected to test the hypothesis, and the results analyzed.
Overall, since deductive reasoning needs facts, it’s challenging to use, but inductive reasoning is applicable in daily life, especially in understanding the world.
If you still have a hard time understanding the difference between inductive and deductive argument, don’t hesitate to contact us now. Our subject experts are ready to craft a paper that will make it easier to understand these two types of arguments.