Best Inductive and Deductive Reasoning Examples

Inductive reasoning is when the writer takes specific facts and details and uses them to draw conclusions. This kind of reasoning can be probable, but not always true. For example, a child may grow up with 3 brown dogs and assume that all dogs are brown. This child is using inductive reasoning; however, it is not true that all dogs are brown, just all the dogs the child has known. That is an example of an improbable inductive reasoning. A probable inductive reasoning would be saying that football linemen are big. Ted is a lineman; therefore, Ted is big. While this is most likely true, it may not be. Ted may be small, but very strong and can perform well as a lineman. Deductive Reasoning is when the writer starts with a conclusion and then presents facts, details, and examples. For example, all trouts are fish. All fish have gills; therefore, all trouts have gills. Because the premises are true the conclusion is also true. If the premises are not all true then the conclusion is usually not true either.


Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
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Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning starts with facts and details and moves to a general conclusion. It lists different details and different examples and moves to a general conclusion or helps you come to a certain conclusion. Now, inductive reasoning is probabilistic, which means that it is based on probability. You hear certain facts and you come to a conclusion. That conclusion is going to have some level of probability to it. These conclusions can be strong or weak, and they can be proved false. You could come up with a conclusion that doesn’t actually happen. It’s not something that’s true, but, based on the examples you were given or the facts you were given, the conclusion makes sense, even if it’s not true. That’s how inductive reasoning works. Let’s look at some examples.


“We have seen 30 white swans, therefore all swans are white.” Well, based on the 30 examples that we’ve seen, this statement makes sense. This conclusion that we drew using inductive reasoning based on our 30 examples would make sense, but is it true? No, not all swans are white. You’ve got other colors, so this isn’t a true thing. This is a false conclusion, but we did use inductive reasoning to get there, basing our conclusion on our examples. Let’s look at the next one. “Basketball players are tall. John is a basketball player. John must be tall.” We don’t actually know John, so we’re not sure about this one. It’s very probable, so this one would be a stronger conclusion than our one about the white swans. However, we don’t know John. John could be short. John could just be really good at making goals. That doesn’t mean that he is going to be a tall person. It’s a probable and stronger conclusion, but we don’t know for sure. We just use inductive reasoning knowing that all the basketball players are generally tall and knowing that John is a basketball player to figure out that John is probably tall.


This is called “bottom-up” logic. We start at the bottom with our examples and we build on those facts, details, and examples to come to a conclusion. Next, let’s talk about deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning starts with the conclusion and then explains the facts, details, and examples that support it. You start with one basic conclusion, one basic statement, and then give facts and details that can support it or that are examples of that statement.


Our next example links premises with conclusions; you come up with a certain premise and it’s linked to your conclusion that you started with. If all premises are true and clear, then the conclusion must also be true. You start with this: “All dogs are mammals. All mammals have hearts.” Based on the fact that all dogs are mammals and all mammals have hearts, all dogs must have hearts. You’ve got “dogs are mammals” and “mammals have hearts,” which means that dogs must have hearts since they are mammals and all mammals have hearts. This is a true conclusion because all the premises are true. If all premises are true and clear, then the conclusion must also be true. In this sentence, we have a truth (all dogs are mammals) and another truth (all mammals have hearts), so it’s true that all dogs must have hearts. Remember, this is a true conclusion based on deductive reasoning.


Now, let’s look at example 2. “All birds can fly. An ostrich is a bird. All ostriches can fly.” We use the fact that we know all birds can fly and that an ostrich is a bird to tell us that an ostrich must be able to fly. Let’s look at each of those statements. “All birds can fly.” That one is false. There are actually about 40 different species of birds that can’t fly, or are called “flightless birds”. “An ostrich is a bird.” That one is true. “All ostriches can fly.” That one is false. Ostriches are a species of flightless birds. Since the first sentence was false, the conclusion ended up being false.


That may not always be the case, but if not all your premises leading up to your conclusion are true, your conclusion might not be true either. We did use deductive reasoning to get there, so, even though this is a false conclusion, we were basing it on the information we were given. On the conclusions that were given to us, we came up with this example of an ostrich. It just wasn’t correct. It wasn’t true. We had a false conclusion, possibly false conclusion, true conclusion, and false conclusion. So, using inductive and deductive reasoning is not going to be 100% accurate, but it is going to give you different ways to reason out information you have and try to make a conclusion based on one of these kinds of logics. Deductive reasoning is also called “top-down” logic because you start with known conclusions and work your way to specific examples at the bottom. You start at the top with a known conclusion and work your way down to the bottom to specific examples.


Whenever you are trying to figure out a problem or figure out how to connect information that you have, you can use inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Just make sure that you are paying attention to whether you have facts and details to start with that you can base a conclusion on, or whether you’ve got broader conclusions that you’re going to be coming up with examples for. Remember that they won’t always be true; you might still have to go and research whether the conclusion you come up with is accurate or not.



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Last updated: 04/18/2018
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