Reasoning from terms

The final type of reasoning is less common but equally important. Some claims, as we have seen, establish the definition of a particular word or phrase. Often we need to give reasons for our definitions, either because there is some widespread doubt about them or because we are trying to establish a particular meaning in a given context. Here is an example:

In a true democracy, all power rests with the people; constitutionally speaking, in a monarchy some power theoretically resides with the monarch. Hence, a monarchy is not democratic.

Now, generally speaking, many monarchies (such as Australia) are democratic; however, this argument establishes that, in a particular context (constitutional theory), monarchies must be defined as undemocratic. While this definition may seem unusual and even irrelevant to daily life in countries such as Australia, it does have some utility within that limited context nevertheless. We tend to find that, by its nature, definitional reasoning is deductive.

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