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Difference Between Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Deductive vs Inductive Arguments

Deductive and inductive arguments are two types of arguments which are related to logical and analytical thinking.

Deductive argument
Deductive thinking is reasoning from abstract, general principles to a specific hypothesis that follows from these principles. The arguments resulting from such thinking are called deductive arguments. For instance:
Sylvia owns only white shirts and blue shirts.
Sylvia is wearing a shirt today.
So Sylvia is wearing either a white shirt or a blue shirt today.
This is an example of a deductive argument. It is so because the two premises or the supportive evidence are the first and the second statements are proven to be true. If the premises are true, then the conclusion or the deduction from the two will definitely be true. Such statements are logically correct.
In deductive arguments, the supportive evidence guarantees a sure, truthful conclusion. In these statements, the premises provide a strong support to the argument. And if the premises are correct, then it is impossible for the conclusion to be wrong. In a deductive argument, the inference or the conclusion is certain. The conclusion is valid if the evidence is true, and the inference will be invalid if the evidence is false because of the relationship which is established between the evidence and the conclusion.

Inductive arguments
Inductive thinking involves a complementary process of observing a number of specific events or instances and interfering with an abstract, general principle to explain those instances. The arguments resulting from such thinking are called inductive arguments. For instance:
The first cat is white.
The second cat is white.
The third cat is white.
The fourth cat is white.
So, all cats are white.
This is an example of an inductive statement. An inductive argument is based on more of the observation of the supportive evidence. The inference or the conclusion derived in an inductive argument is only a probable truth. The conclusion is induced in these types of statements.
In inductive arguments, the inference is dependent on the evidence. The result will be correct and true if the evidence is true. The inference, however, may also be true if the evidence is false. For example:
All reptiles are mammals.
All snakes are reptiles.
All snakes are mammals.
Here the evidence is true and so is the induced inference. Considering the next example:
All humans are reptiles.
All reptiles have hair.
All humans have hair.
Here the evidence is false, but the induced inference is still certain and accurate. So it may be noted that the inference is certain even if some or all of the evidence is false and the conclusion can still be true.
Summary:

1.In deductive arguments, the conclusion is certain while in inductive arguments, the inference is probable.
2.The deductive arguments are logical while the inductive statements are based more on observation.
3.In inductive argument the inference may be true even if some of the evidence is false; however, in a deductive argument, if the evidence is false, it will lead to a false inference.


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2 Comments

  1. Seems your author got confused between the words mammal and animal.
    snakes are animals but they aint mammals.. not last time i looked !
    so your interesting explanation of induction and deduction got scrambled, I DEDUCE !
    AND your author is not checking his work, or is incompetent somehow, I INDUCE. !
    Elementary my Dear Watson, said Sherlock, mistakenly using deducing to explain his work when he was actually inducing…etc.

  2. There is a typo in this – first para for inductive should be ‘inferring’ and not ‘interfering’

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