Reasoning Explained

A Reason is said to be the ability to make sense of things around you, applying thought, set up and verify facts and change or stick to a practice according to the information perceived by the mind. It is associated with the process of thinking and being cognitive.

It is the innate habit of rational beings like humans to comprehend the cause and effect, discern good from bad and then make a conscious decision.

Importance of Reasoning

Reasoning enables us to think efficiently and make well-informed decisions about everyday life that are otherwise not possible. It makes us think rationally in any situation that we might experience and establish sound judgements and beliefs. It also provides a mechanism to learn from new experiences and store them for later use for continual assessment.

Reasoning helps us in acquiring new knowledge to elaborate on information that is not readily or explicitly stated. It is associated with skills of philosophy, science, language, art and mathematics and is an inherent characteristic of humans.

Simply put, reasoning is the process of making a logical conclusion bases on known facts or premises. Listed below are the main types of reasoning:

  1. Inductive Reasoning

It is a form of reasoning that uses observable analogies, examples, comparisons and other experiences to make a formal conclusion. This type of logic derives from the experiences of a person’s life based on regular patterns. There is no absolute certainty that is used to establish a conclusion and reasoning is usually done based on previous observations.

Example – Fact: The sun always sets in the west.

Conclusion: The sun will also set in the west today.

  1. Deductive Reasoning

It is a form of reasoning that uses factual evidence in order to establish some conclusion. It is based on sound and pure logic to apply thought and results in a logical conclusion that is inevitable to follow after the facts. There is a logical certainty to some degree that is used to establish a conclusion and reasoning is done only based on pure logic.

Simple example:

Fact 1: All Humans are rational

Fact 2: Aristotle is a human

Conclusion: Aristotle is rational

  1. Abductive Reasoning

It is a mix of both deductive and inductive reasoning. Based on a set of evidence, one arrives at possible inferences of the best solution and this type of reasoning involves the selection of the best possible inference over the others.

In essence, it is an argumentative type of reasoning that results in choosing the best type of explanation or justification for an action. It might not sound using a great degree of certainty, but at least, it is a process of elimination of unlikely inferences to reach to some conclusion and is logical in that sense.

Example – Patient shows symptoms and the doctor chooses the best cause of it by means of this reasoning as one conclusion being more probable than the other.

  1. Fallacious Reasoning

It refers to an improper reasoning that is based on false premises or logic. It can lead to a formal fallacy with the major problem being in the form or structure of the premise. It can also lead to informal fallacy with the major problem present in the content of the premise. To put it simply, it is just a type of flawed reasoning.

  1. Analogical reasoning

It is also an incorrect reasoning based on particular analogies that might often lead to false conclusions. It is a bad example of inductive reasoning that uses analogies to make some conclusion.

For example

Fact 1: Aristotle is male and human

Fact 2: Jennifer Lopez is human

Conclusion: Jennifer Lopez is male