I f you want to be effective at assessing and defending arguments, solving problems, and making effective decisions you must become adept at thinking logically. This is because our brains are highly flawed as a tool for understanding the world we live in, yet we are able to reason and we can and should use that reasoning ability to override the limitations of our cognitive abilities.
In the field of logic there are two methods of study: formal and informal logic. Here we’ll focus on informal logic. Formal logic is mathematical or symbolic and includes things like truth tables, and is great to increase your critical thinking and reasoning skills. But we’ll focus on informal logic as that will give you easier tools to help you deal with issues you are faced with on your daily life.
This is one of a series of articles in which we’ll cover how to make good arguments. Here we’ll take a close look at deductive arguments, and explore what they are, how they work and why it’s important you know all this. The ultimate goal is to lean how to recognize and how to make a good deductive argument.
What is a deductive argument?
A good deductive argument is one which supports its claims. In this type of reasoning we move from a conclusion to the premises that may provide evidence for it. We must evaluate whether the evidence for that conclusion is valid. This is because generally if the evidence is valid, so is the conclusion.
When you are presented with an argument and you want to evaluate whether it’s a sound one, it behooves you to first identify the type of argument it is, namely a deductive or an inductive argument, and then figure out whether the conclusion is logical.