Table 7: Exercise in Deductive/Inductive Reasoning, Light in August

Below is a table that falls under the comment “Logic and Articulation.”

You may access the comment by clicking on the “L” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the table for class discussions.

Table 7:  Exercise in Deductive/Inductive Reasoning, Light in August

 Premise The role of Burch within the novel, as a revealer of truth, contradicts Faulkner’s construction of Christmas.
 Premise As creator-narrator, Faulkner uses Burch to classify Christmas, to reveal his racial heredity.
 Conclusion But just as Faulkner creates Joe, he creates Burch.
 Conclusion So, if he is able to have Burch classify Christmas, then shouldn’t Christmas be able to classify himself?
 Conclusion And shouldn’t Faulkner also be able to classify his character without Burch as a way of bringing certainty to Christmas’s life?

The paragraph begins with a debatable argument, a topic sentence (first premise) that causes us to think more about the subject. The second sentence is an extended example, a move from the general to the specific. The connection between these two sentences causes us to believe that we are moving toward a deductive argument. However, in the first conclusion, this is where we switch to an inductive argument. The last two conclusions confirm our assumption here.

The sentences of Table 7 represent an inductive argument, one where the conclusion is likely to follow from its premises, but not always. Whereas in deductive arguments the conclusion can be valid or invalid, in an inductive argument, the conclusion can be classified as either good or bad, strong or weak (Engel 41). In Table 7, the conclusion, in its connection to at least the first premise, is weak because in the premise Burch is a revealer of truth; but in the conclusion Burch is disregarded for Christmas.

One doesn’t have anything to do with the other. It is likely from the premise Burch doesn’t always have to be the revealer of truth and that Christmas will become more self-aware and classify himself. However, it is not for certain either man will. Now let’s add the rest of the paragraph to the table.

Click here for Table 8: Deductive Reasoning for the Last Conclusion (Essay), Light in August.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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