The Greek philosopher Aristotle might have lived more than 2,000 years ago but his writings continue to influence contemporary philosophical debates even today.
His writing spanned a range of subjects from history and political theory to metaphysics and logic. He is often called the Father of Logic that is derived from deductive reasoning.
Deductive reasoning may sound like a boring concept popularized by some old Greek men many centuries ago, but did you know that deductive logic is commonly used to make decisions every day? Whether at work or at home, in your professional or personal relationships, deductive reasoning is applied and used everywhere. So, what is deductive reasoning and why’s it important?
What Is Deductive Reasoning?
When it comes to logical explanations, deduction works like a solid proof derived from a chain or string of statements. Each statement forms a premise for the next statement and is a consequence of the previous statement(s).
The meaning of deductive reasoning can be best understood using a top-down approach, where you start with a general truth and narrow down to particular instances. In short, deductive reasoning is a logical process where the conclusion is based on multiple arguments or premises.
In deductively valid arguments, if the premises are true, the conclusions can’t be false. The premises have to be true for the conclusion to be true.
To better understand the meaning of deductive reasoning, let’s start with one of the many examples of deductive reasoning:
- All men are mortal
- Aristotle is a man
- Therefore, Aristotle is mortal
You can see here that the deduction starts with a broad or generalized truth, “All men are mortal.” This is the major premise. It’s followed by a minor statement or a specific premise, “Aristotle is a man.” If the major and minor premises are true, the conclusion, “Therefore, Aristotle is a mortal” can’t be false.
The strength of the link between the premises and the conclusion determines whether a deductive argument is true or false.
Examples Of Deductive Reasoning
Logical thinking or deductive reasoning is a core skill that an employee is expected to have. This is because this skill helps people process information and facts faster and implement logical solutions accordingly. They want people who can best utilize their potential and solve problems by making well-reasoned arguments.
It is important to note that accurate decisions are taken when emotions are better managed and biases are minimized. Harappa Education’s Reasoning Logically course is designed to help you separate your emotions from logic. You’ll learn how to skillfully distinguish opinions from facts using the Importance vs. Emotion framework. You’ll think twice before jumping to hasty conclusions and learn how to think strategically.
Let’s look at some examples of the deductive method used for specific purposes at the workplace to understand the benefits of using deductive reasoning skills:
Deductive reasoning helps minimize guesswork because your premises have to be accurate for your conclusion to be accurate. Many job roles or positions require problem-solving skills because organizations rely on rational solutions to achieve targets. You can apply deductive reasoning skills to discover reliable resolutions to problems.
Some examples of deductive the method are team leaders organizing quarterly reviews with employees to give and receive feedback or the human resources department implementing policies against sexual harassment at the workplace.
Organizations often encourage teamwork to boost productivity and success. However, it’s not easy as teamwork requires navigating different working styles and processes. Using the process of deductive reasoning can help you identify the root of the problem and make better decisions.
Adopting effective communication techniques or setting common targets for better team productivity are examples of deductive reasoning skills being utilized for efficient teamwork.
The process of reasoning is usually seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. If reasoning has an element of logic in it, it will help you spot and avoid unsound arguments. Sound reasoning, supported by deductive or inductive methods, can help negotiate and avoid misinterpretations. When in doubt, remember Aristotle’s words, “Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.”
Explore topics & skills such as the Cognitive Skills, What is Logical Reasoning, Types of Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning & difference between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning from our Harappa Diaries blog section.