Part I: Analysis
Reader Workshop – Deductive Reasoning in Fiction
Click HERE to read the selection and see the exercises.
a. Read selection from Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (handout)
Complete exercises 1-6 at the end of the passage. (These are called syllogisms.)
Discuss the notion of the premise: Note how Holmes proceeds from a set of
premises we have to accept as true if his deductions can proceed.
1) We've discussed how deductions proceed from rules or laws, which, if the
conditions are met, must be true.
2) Often, though, we work from a premise – something we accept
as true for the purposes of argument.
3) This is ok and common. In a debate, you’d have to work hard to establish the believability of the premise. Indeed, this is at the heart of the logic of persuasion.
Part II: Synthesis
Writer’s Workshop – Creating Deductive Reasoning
Click HERE for the Rubric for your narrative.
Do this in pairs
Create a fictional narrative similar to the Holmes passage we read in logic and
length (except that you can leave out the Watson guesses if you like).
1) Feel free to create setting, style, tone, and characters to your
2) Use at least five deductive conclusions in your narrative.
You may not use overt inductive logic.
3) Pre-write by creating your situation and the syllogisms your narrative
will include. This will allow you
judge the success of your narrative when someone else reads it and attempts to
analyze your syllogisms.
4) Begin drafting your story. You will also have at least another full day in class to work on this.
Part III: Evaluation
Reader's Workshop: Share, Analyze, and Evaluate
a. Exchange Deductive Narratives. Each person should read the other pair's narrative.
b. Partners then try to write out all of the narrative's deductive syllogisms in the If, then format, just like the ones in the exercise we did.
c. Compare what the readers found with the actual syllogisms intended in the story.
d. Discuss discrepancies, why they may have occurred, & validity of the premises used in the syllogisms. Share results with class.
e. Particularly good ones may be read to the class as well.