The verb deduce, which comes from the Latin word deducĕre, can refer to drawing a conclusion from certain premises or from a certain situation. For example: “From the statements of the Minister of Economy we can deduce that there will be a new increase in taxes in the short term”, “I do not want to deduct anything, I want you to tell me exactly what happened last night in this house”, ” Observing the way the young man walked, the policeman soon deduced that he was drunk.
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Deductive reasoning is known as the logical process through which, starting from premises, a conclusion is necessarily inferred. Deducing, in this context, implies reaching a conclusion from a finite succession of formulas:
Premise No. 1: “No human being can fly by himself”
Premise No. 2: “Miguel is a human being”
Conclusion: “Miguel cannot fly by himself”
As can be seen, the premises allow us to deduce that, since Miguel is a human being, he is not in a position to fly by himself since no human being can.
Deducting also consists of subtracting an amount from a certain amount or fee. The tax legislation of a country, to cite one case, may authorize a taxpayer to deduct the rental expense from Income Tax. In this way, if a woman is a priori responsible for paying 4,000 pesos of Income Tax but she spends 1,500 pesos on rent, she can deduct that figure and pay 2,500 pesos for the tax in question.
Thanks to literary works focused on the work of detectives, the rudiments of deductive reasoning became very popular, and continue to be so today through the countless police-themed television series and movies. By analyzing the stories of the great detectives, we can learn the methods and decisions that are essential when it comes to solving a mystery.
To become true masters of deduction we can take the example of Sherlock Holmes, the most widely recognized character in this genre, who faces the most puzzling cases with an unconventional attitude, standing both outside the limits, within them and even about the limits themselves.
It is through this degree of observation that Holmes is able to make truly unusual inferences. Instead of simply examining the most relevant details, this detective gives importance to each and every one of them, with the aim of creating in his mind a colossal network of data on which to work to deduce the answers to all his questions, such as be who, why and when.
The influence of this fictional character on real-world investigative bodies has been quite considerable. To cite an example, the importance given to deductive reasoning to try to prevent and solve crimes through the analysis of the things that motivate criminals is due to the way in which Holmes treats his cases.
To make a brilliant deduction it is necessary to have a lot of knowledge, which we must interrelate. Getting to that instance requires a lot of observation work, during which we have to collect as much data as possible.
A common mistake when trying to deduce the meaning of an apparently mysterious phenomenon or event is to economize on resources, collecting only the data that we consider most relevant. Many times, the starting point for success is found in a detail that seems insignificant, and it is only when we pay proper attention to it that we put ourselves in perspective and all the other points make sense.