Deductive Reasoning

• What is the process of deductive reasoning used to come to the conclusion?

Usually deductive reasoning is logical, in that pieces of information are put together to come to a conclusion. One example would be syllogisms, where two axioms are known to be true, and based on those two axioms, a third thing must be true. It starts out more general and becomes more specific, e.g. all men are mortal, I am a man, therefore I am mortal. Broad axioms can lead to logical conclusions.

• What issues are there?

One example of such logical and deductive reasoning that I particularly enjoy is Plato’s definition of man as a ‘featherless biped’. The axioms this conclusion is based off are very true; man has no feathers, and man walks on two feet. However, as Diogenes points out, based on that logic, a plucked chicken is also a man. However, it is technically true, that man is a featherless biped (for the most part). Therefore, neither of the axioms is incorrect, and the conclusion is not incorrect either, but the conclusion can be misleading and therefore lead to a sort of half-truth.

In addition to logic not always being perfect when the axioms are correct and the system of thinking is correct, logic can be based off of flawed axioms. If axioms are broad generalizations, or just plain wrong, this can lead to a serious problem, as the conclusion will not be true. This can be seen in the St. Louis court case. The people condemning the judge are basing their judgement off of generalized axioms, which aren’t necessarily false in this scenario, and the Judge himself may have based his judgement off of his prior belief that “an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly”. Naturally in this case, urban can be construed to mean black, and therefore that axiom could be considered racism and therefore a bias rather than an actual fact.

EE Writing Day Reflection

After the EE writing day I learned that in the future I have to be more organized with my note taking as I currently have a lot of information, but I’ve created a lot of work for myself because I now need to organize it. However, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve managed to obtain so much information, and learn so much. Next, I have to reorganize my notes and start writing the first thousand words of my EE. In the process of the EE writing day I realized that I hadn’t structured my essay plan and research in the most productive way, and I will move forward with it structured by more specific themes than domestic, international, regional, short term, and long term. After all, it’s a lot more complicated than I originally thought, and given the information I have that structure would make the essay very imbalanced. Therefore I’ve decided to work with GRIMSTRIPE factors, I foresee an issue with having too much information and analysis to fit in four thousand words.

EE Initial Reflection

From the beginning I was torn between doing a history EE on the effects of prostitution in the nineteenth century, or on the history of the Congo. I ultimately refined it to the Congo as prostitution was not viable. What made this process difficult for me, is that I had a lot of trouble committing to one research question as I find many parts of history interesting. My supervisor and I then refined the research question to be on the causes of the first and second Congolese wars rather than focusing on the Congo crisis, Belgian imperialism or conspiracy theories about both. We decided on causes because it can include  aspects from both the Congo crisis and imperialism, but also because it allows for  extensive analysis. In addition, it would stop me from going too far into subjects lacking in sources. Unfortunately I had was slow in writing an outline, as there were so many things I wanted to include.