How is reasoning related to logical arguments? Is this form of reasoning superior to what one might come to on his own? Why or why not?
The advantage of deductive reasoning over inductive reasoning is that we can infer knowledge that is not obvious or readily apparent. Inductive reasoning (what might come to us on our own) is dependent upon observations. On the other hand, through the method of deductive reasoning, we can surmise information in a purely mental state. If we did not have this ability Einstein could not have discovered relativity, Newton the theory of gravity, and Faraday electromagnetism. Now, in all of these examples, inductive reasoning was used to map out possible causes, but deductive reasoning was employed when devising yet untested explanations. In my opinion deductive reasoning is superior to inductive reasoning, again because of the limits of observation. I can remember the critical thinking class that I took as part of my associate degree. I was fascinated by the study of arguments, particularly syllogisms. If I remember correctly an argument is only true if the premises are true and the conclusion reasonably flows from the premises. An argument can be valid if the premises are true, but it can only be sound if the conclusion logically flows from the premises. Please correct me if I am wrong. Anyways, here is a syllogism that has stumped me for some time. See what you think:
- The universe began to exist (big bang theory).
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause (law of cause and effect).
- So the universe must have a cause.
Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2005). Psychology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.