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Critical Thinking Tutorial: Summary of Anlyzing Arguments

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

Now that you know more about the components of an argument and how to use them to reason, let's conclude with a brief look at deductive and inductive reasoning.

In arguments that are both valid and sound, the premises provide conclusive evidence to support the conclusion. This is known as a deductive argument because the truth of the conclusion can be deduced from the truth of the evidence. Simply stated, in a deductive argument, if the premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true.

On the other hand, inductive arguments, which are more common, provide probable evidence rather than conclusive evidence to support the conclusion. Probable evidence is based on observed patterns rather than established facts. For instance, if all the swans you've ever seen are white, you can induce or predict that the next swan you see will also be white. Although this conclusion is not guaranteed to be true, the likelihood is high based on your previous observations. Simply stated, inductive arguments provide sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion but do not guarantee its truth.

In summary, watch this video. It provides a logic flowchart of deductive and inductive reasoning and demonstrates how the components of an argument are used to determine the validity and soundness of deductive arguments and the strength or weakness of inductive arguments.

Source: Deductive and Inductive Reasoning Flow Chart: Valid vs Invalid, Strong vs Weak, Sound vs Unsound by Let's Get Logical on YouTube


Engaging in Critical Reflection

In the next module, we will look at how a lack of critical thinking can lead to errors in reasoning, confirmation bias and logical fallacies.

Before moving on, complete the self-reflection exercise that follows. This process will allow you to better understand yourself and how your existing knowledge and experiences shape your perspectives. By actively challenging your beliefs, values and attitudes, you are engaging in a double-loop process that will ultimately prepare you to think more critically, make informed judgments, and adopt new ways of thinking and doing.