Notes About Reasoning


Reasoning is a specified way of thinking in a particular mindset. Reasoning techniques plays a vital role in decision making process by providing us a procedure to reach a conclusion and solve a problem. 

Abductive Reasoning

Abductive reasoning is one of the methodological process of logical inference. It takes a cognitive shortcut based on observations of the current conditions to come up with a simple, practical, yet feasible solution.

This type of reasoning is taken into account when there is insufficient background information and lack of observable data.

Literal Reasoning

Literal reasoning is a subset of abductive reasoning. It uses non-figural statements.


Adam lives with his dog. Yesterday, he came home from work at 7 pm. As soon as he entered his bedroom, his stuff was all around the place. Since his dog had been home all day and the bedroom door was open, he took an intelligent guess based on what he observed at that moment and thought it was his dog caused this mess.But it was also possible, someone broke into his apartment.

Analogical Reasoning

Analogical reasoning is another subset of abductive reasoning. It relies upon the existing similarities of source domain and target domain. By comparing the relations and analysing the correlation between them, this technique fortifies its arguments that there exists even more similarities.


Adam and Sam have been best friends  for 15 years now. Adam and Sam grew up in the same town and were born into the same culture. Today, they work abroad and they share the same apartment. When Sam talks about her daily challenges to Adam, Adam understands what she has been through -since they both have a similar background- and empathize with her. 

Historical Reasoning

One of the other subsets of abductive reasoning is historical reasoning. This reasoning type compares a current instance of an entity to its version in the past. This technique is useful to analyze and make inferences based on the progress of source domain over the timeline.


Adam and Mary had a baby last year. They took the height of their baby yesterday and noticed the difference was 20cm from the day she was born.

Comparative Reasoning

Comparative reasoning helps evaluate and compare the qualities of a source domain against a target domain.


Adam has two tasks on hand. One task is “fixing the broken shower faucet” and the other one is “building a bookshelf”. He considers the options and pick the second task as easier than the first one.

Conditional Reasoning

To understand conditional reasoning, first let’s break the conditional statement into segments. The structure forms in two essential parts: if block as the hypothesis, and then part as the conclusion.

if hypothesis is true, then it should confirm the conclusion statement. But vice-versa might not be correct. Therefore, the conclusion statement might be valid even if the hypothesis is not correct.


if it rains today, Adam cannot go on a picnic with Sam. As in this example, it is certain that picnic is off  in case of rain but rain might not be the only reason why they do not go on a picnic.

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a top-down logical approach. It starts off with an accepted theory and predicts observations based on this theory. This type of reasoning assures the arguments are valid.

Example: Men are mortal. Adam is a man. Adam is mortal.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is a bottom-up logical approach and the opposite of deductive reasoning. It starts off with specific observations and tries to reach a broad generalization. Observations are supported with historical and repeatable data. The result does not involve certainty but can be verified as “close to truth”.


Yesterday, Adam found a box at home from old days. He opened the box and put his hand into the box. He picked up the first thing touched his hand and it was a pen. Second, third and fourth tries also come out as pens. After his repeatable observations, he assumed that the box is full of pens.  

Backward Reasoning

Backward reasoning starts off from the conclusion desired to be reached and moves backwards to predict the statements which could lead to this conclusion. This technique can be useful when following a forward approach involves too much complications and possibilities.


Adam wants to go on a vacation. Since he has many options ahead, he first determines his expectations from this trip:

  • He wants to swim
  • He want to relax

Based on the expectations above, he searches for a hot place near sea-side with not too many actions going on around such as loud music, night clubs… His new decisions will filter out many options. After picking the right place to go, he walks  through the transportation options, as well. He follows those steps moving backwards step by step until he travels back to present in time.

Residue Reasoning

Residue reasoning technique is applied to narrow down the possibilities by ruling out the negative ones.


Adam has three options for his vacation. He should go in 5 days. He has no visa and he is low on budget. First option is overpriced and seems like he cannot make it. The second option requires visa and he does not have enough time to complete the application process. He decides to choose the third option which seems attainable, after eliminating the other two options.

Decompositional Reasoning

By analysing the relations and interactions between each component of an integrated system, it aims to draw a practical, yet comprehensive conclusion for the whole system.


Adam’s lamp got broken yesterday. He decided to give it a go and fix it himself. Since he could not figure out what was wrong with it, he demounted the whole thing and checked carefully to figure out the not-working component. It was the socket part causing all this trouble…

Systemic Reasoning

System reasoning focuses on the environmental relations around the system and how the system under observation interacts with them. 


Adam’s lamp got broken again. But this time, he first checked out the multi plug which provides electricity to the lamp and noticed that it was not working.

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