June 16, 2011

Deductive vs. Inductive


I've been looking over books on hermeneutics and biblical interpretation, always looking for a good book to shore up my own exegetical methods. And as I was surveying the new edition of Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics, I got to thinking about the basic difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. Which further got me reflecting on my own seeming inability to ever keep these two concepts straight. So I went to wikipedia for a little info (always with a critical eye, of course), and read this enlightening statement at the end of the article on deductive reasoning, under the heading Uses in Popular Culture:

The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is described as using deductive reasoning to solve his mysteries, however this is an error on the part of the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock's methods can more properly be described as a form of inductive reasoning.

It was like a light dawned. I loved Sherlock Holmes mysteries growing up, and, knowing Doyle described his methods as "deductive," it has always served, whether subconsciously or consciously, as one of my prime examples of deduction. But in fact, it's not. No wonder I was perpetually confused. Elementary, my dear Doyle!

1 comment:

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