An observation, effectively, is a formal logic argument. The format of an Observation is meant to be as straightforward, unequivocal, and concise as possible.
Deductive Reasoning Is Preferred
In Deductive Reasoning, an argument is considered valid if it is impossible for the conclusion to be false if all of the premises are true. If all premises in the Observation are in fact true, then the Observation is considered not only valid, but also sound. For example:
- That Blue = a Color
- That Argyle = a Pattern
- That Patterns ≠ Colors
- That Colors ≠ Patterns
Thereby, it can be concluded:
- That Argyle ≠ a Color
- That Blue ≠ a Pattern
This argument is considered valid because the premises explicitly state that ‘patterns are not colors’, and that ‘colors are not patterns’. Therefore, it is impossible for argyle, which was explicitly stated to be a pattern, to be considered a color. It would not be valid, however, if the premise stating that ‘patterns are not colors’ and the premise stating that ‘colors are not patterns’ were removed. In that case, those ‘rules’ would not have been asserted, and as such, we could not conclusively say whether argyle was a color or a pattern, or neither, or both.
Additionally, since all the premises in this example are in fact true, the observation is considered to be sound. It would not be sound, however, if a premise were added that stated argyle was also a color. If that were to be done, then we could not conclusively say that argyle was not a color, since the premises would have asserted that it was both a color and a pattern, and that a patterns were not colors and vice versa.
Strength of Inductive Logic Premises Must Be Supported
In Inductive Reasoning, each premise can have a degree of truth. To support the strength of such a premise, it must reference fact-based evidence (studies, experiments, statistics, etc). Effectively, this makes each premise its own argument. The strength of a conclusion in an inductive argument is therefore dependent on the strength of such evidence for each of its premises. Observations relying on inductive logic, therefore, should have their conclusion phrase altered from ‘Thereby, it can be concluded’ to instead read, ‘Thereby, it can probably be concluded’ so as to indicate the conclusion is not absolutely guaranteed.