See you next time!

In this lesson, we’ve talked about reasoning, which means linking facts in order to answer a question such as, “What’s the best scooter?” or “What would happen if the Earth stopped rotating?”.

Reasoning Cause & effect

Reasoning Criteria & match

We looked at two types of reasoning:

  • Cause & effect (causal reasoning)
  • Criteria & match (categorical reasoning)

And we looked at how questions might require each of these types of reasoning:

  • Predicting what would happen if the Earth stopped means following a chain of causes & effects, showing how one event leads to the next.
  • Choosing the best scooter means comparing models to your personal criteria on price, weight, speed, range, etc.

We also saw how each type of reasoning has its own nuances:

  • Cause & effect can be linear or factorial, and be used to reason about the past or the future.
  • Criteria can be weighted, and matches can be imperfect.

So what's next?

Rodin's Thinker statue considering a scooter

If you notice yourself asking a question or trying to make a decision, think about what type of reasoning would be most relevant.

Can you use what you've learned to help you find an answer or make a better decision?

People try to convince you about things all the time, whether they're just explaining something or outright trying to persuade you to change your mind.

The next time you read or watch something, step back and think about what type of underlying reasoning would be needed to make the point, and then see if the author/speaker is using that reasoning (and using it well).

You might find that having even this simple framework helps you appreciate good communication as well as identify sloppy thinking.

Reasoning is the first step in creating arguments to explain and make value judgments about the world.

If you're interested in that, check out our other lessons on argumentation.

See you next time!