Inductive and Deductive Assignment (McMahon)

The next writing assignment we will be concentrating on will be the construction of persuasive passages using induction, deduction, and expressive language or analogy. These passages should be used to further strengthen and develop your Pro/Con and/or your Rogerian essays.

1. Inductive reasoning is the process of reasoning from specifics to the general. We draw general conclusions based on discrete, specific everyday experiences. Because both writers and readers share this reasoning process, induction can be a highly effective strategy for persuasion. A truly persuasive and effective inductive argument proceeds through an accumulation of many specifics. Within your own essays you should use support from outside sources, personal experience, and specific examples to fully develop your inductive passages. Also, keep in mind that conclusions drawn from inductive reasoning are always only probable. To use induction effectively, a writer must demonstrate that the specifics are compelling and thus justify the conclusion but never claim that the conclusion is guaranteed in all situations. In addition, a writer must keep in mind who his/her audience is and what specifics or evidence will persuade the audience to accept the conclusion. Finally, a writer who is reasoning inductively must be cautious of hasty generalizations in which the specifics are inadequate to justify the conclusions.

2. Deductive reasoning is the process of reasoning from general statements agreed to be true to a certain and logical conclusion. Again, like inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning is a familiar strategy we use in our everyday lives and is a potentially effective persuasive strategy. However, unlike inductive reasoning when the conclusion may be justified but is always only probable, the conclusion reached deductively must be logically certain. Most deductive arguments begin with a general statement that has already been "proven" inductively and is now accepted by most people as true. Today, most deductive general statements involve commonly held values or established scientific fact. A writer who uses deduction to frame an argument must be absolutely certain that the general statement is accepted as true and then must demonstrate the relationship between this general statement and the specific claim, thus proving beyond a doubt the conclusion. An effective deductive argument is one in which your audience accepts the general statement and is then logically compelled by the development of the argument to accept your conclusion.

3. An analogy helps a writer further develop and support an idea he/she is trying to convey to a reader. In an analogy a comparison is drawn between the principle idea and something else a reader is familiar with. Thus, the comparison clarifies the principle idea. Analogies within persuasive writing appeal to either a reader's value system or to a reader's reason and logic. Asking a reader to consider an idea, issue, or problem in the context of something else can both clarify the idea and persuade the reader to accept our interpretation of the idea. Please note: analogies only work when the subjects you are comparing have some similarities. If the things you compare are too dissimilar, your readers will dismiss the analogy and fail to be persuaded of your idea.