When it comes to thinking, the use of reason to figure out things is considered highly valuable and even necessary.  So we're going to devote some time to discussing this topic, beginning, as we often do, with a definition.

Reasoning: (noun):

1. the process of thinking about something in a logical way in order to form a conclusion or judgment

2. the ability of the mind to think and understand things in a logical way


Two Types of Reasoning: Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

When it comes to Critical Thinking and trying to see reality, there are two important ways of reasoning that enable us to infer realities about the world around us.  Complementing each other, they both are important and useful in problem solving, in science, and in our ongoing quest for valid understandings

Deductive Reasoning: reasoning that moves from general to specific. Sometimes this is called the “top-down” approach because the researcher starts at the top with a very broad spectrum of information and they work their way down to a specific conclusion. 

Scientific Research: This sort of reasoning usually starts with a theory from which a hypothesis is developed then either confirmed, or disconfirmed via data collection and analysis.

Logic: this form of reasoning is best seen in that form of reasoning called a "syllogism"

Major premise: All men are mortal.
Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.


Both premises are known to be valid, by observation or historical facts. Because the two premises are valid, the conclusion

 must be valid as well.


Inductive Reasoning: reasoning works the opposite way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. This is a “bottom up” approach. A scientific researcher would begin with specific observations (data), then look for possible patterns, arrive a an hypothesis to research and conclude with some form of theory.  


An example would be: Jill and Bob are friends. Jill likes to dance, cook and write. Bob likes to dance and cook. Therefore it can be assumed he also likes to write


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