# Resolved questionsWhat's the difference between inductive and deductive?

What's the difference between inductive and deductive?

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• Jerry
• Mar 18, 2013
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These two terms are used in the context of analytical reasoning. Deductive reasoning is the scientifically rigorous method, basically starting from general statements to reach a specific conclusion. (E.g., Only animals with wings can fly. A bat can fly. Therefore, a bat has wings.)

Inductive reasoning is the opposite - starting from specifics, one arrives at a general statement. Inductive reasoning is generally not considered scientifically sound. (E.g., A turkey has two legs. Human beings have two legs. Therefore, turkeys are human beings). As you can see, inductive reasoning may not give you the right answer!

There are also areas where inductive reasoning is appropriate & understood.
For example, if all life as we know it relies on water, then if we find a new lifeform, it likely relies on water.
We are not saying that it does rely on water. We are saying, quite soundly, that in some sense of the word likely, it likely relies on water.
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This is totally sound.
Inductive proofs in mathematics do suck as showing that if a statement is true for the number 1, & we can show that if it is true for any number k that it must therefore be true for k+1, then it must be true for all numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, ...
Again, this is totally sound, if done properly.
That is inductive reasoning is often misunderstood & does not always have the nuanced life it has in some philosophical areas.