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(that is, as a list of claims and a diagram). Choose issues that are important to you and about which you have some knowledge. You will probably find that each one combines some elements of more than one type.


This chapter has discussed various ways to think about reasoning. You have learnt about the difference between induction and deduction: the most important point to remember from this comparison is that some kinds of reasoning are about the inherent logic of the way we describe the world in words: that there are logical relationships built into claims which, necessarily, lead to other claims. Now this kind of reasoning is not investigative but is the foundation on which inductive reasoning (where you do observe and investigate the world) is based.

You have also learnt about propositional logic which, again, is all about the way you can use a claim that proposes how two other claims are related. Whether or not, in the narrative flow, you actually write a claim in the standard 'if/then' format doesn't matter.- very often, when we reason, we are using propositions that, if we rewrote them more accurately, would have to be in that form. Propositional logic is a very important way of finding the links between apparently disparate events and drawing them together into a conclusion.

You have also considered what I call five types of reasoning. These are not 'types' like induction and deduction—an argument may contain elements of (say) reasoning from terms, generalisation, and analogy, all through it. But an argument can only ever be either inductive or deductive. So, these types of reasoning are presented simply to help open your eyes to the ways in which you need to think about your reasoning to make it better.

Thus, what we learn by considering those five types of reasoning is that all argument and explanation starts with a consideration of similarity and difference; commonality and inconsistency; necessity and sufficiency. These concepts are an underlying part of chapters 8 and 9, where we look at how to find information and how to think it through.


The following terms and concepts are introduced in this chapter. Before checking in the Glossary, write a short definition of each term:

analogy, reasoning from cause, reasoning from consistency deduction

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