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Line of Reasoning

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Line of Reasoning

State your case. State your conclusion, state your evidence, and tell your audience how one leads into the other. In other words, what is your line of reasoning? A line of reasoning is your method to fully and logically explain your arguments in a logical essay format. If your lines of reasoning are sound, then your essay will be sound. However, if your lines of reasoning are faulty, then your essay will be faulty as well.

Line of Reasoning Definition

Accurate conclusions are built upon lines of reason.

A line of reasoning is the way you connect your evidence to your conclusions.

Here’s an example of a line of reasoning.

Because I’m sick, I’m not going to school today. Going to school sick makes me sicker and can infect other people as well.

I’m sickSickness worsens the health of people I’m not going to school

In this example, you are using what you know about illness and the fact you are ill to conclude you shouldn’t go to school. This is a logical line of reasoning. Here's that in a basic template.

Evidencelogicconclusion

Given that hurting people is bad, this example is a logical line of reasoning. What happens when a line of reasoning isn’t logical, though?

Flawed line of reasoning

Let’s turn our example on its head.

Although I’m sick, I’m going to school today, even if going to school sick makes me sicker and can infect other people as well.

This line of reasoning does not follow. Because it is a given that hurting people is bad, this reasoning indicates that you should not go to school. The conclusion is wrong.

Line of reasoning fever example StudySmarterLogically you should stay in bed, flaticon.

However, this student could attempt to create a persuasive line of reasoning to convince his mother, let’s say, that he should be able to go to school despite the downsides. What would that look like?

Persuasive Line of Reasoning

Unlike a line of reasoning, which may be a simple reason someone does something, a persuasive line of reasoning attempts to convince someone else to do something. Let’s return to the example of the sick student, who is trying to get his mom to let him go to school.

I know I’m sick, but I want to go to school today. Two of my classes have big study sessions for exams coming up next week, and I don’t want to miss them. I want to attend so I do better on the tests!

Break down this line of reasoning.

I need to do well on the AP testThe prep sessions today will help I need to go to school today (regardless of my illness)

This is the beginning of an argument. Mom might say something like this in return.

It doesn’t matter. Your health and the health of the other students is more important than your test. If you go to school, you will get sicker, and probably get someone else sick, too. You’re staying home.

You will spread your sicknessstudent health is more important than your testyou’re staying home

Evidence, logic, conclusions; evidence, logic, conclusions. Rinse and repeat.

Now that you have a simple framework about what a line of reasoning is, it’s time to apply that knowledge to creating arguments within your essay.

Line of Reasoning in your Essay

You will create lines of reason in your essay both to create new points and to counter opposing points, just the way the mom and the son did in our previous examples. The main difference is that you will be doing so formally, in writing.

So where to begin?

Line of reasoning in your thesis

To formulate a line of reasoning, you first need something to prove (a thesis). This should not be something already proven, something unprovable, or something indefinite.

Here’s something already proven.

Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1927.

This is an agreed upon fact. This does not constitute a thesis, because it simply recapitulates a piece of evidence. A hypothesis must grow from evidence.

Here’s something unprovable.

Gabriel García Márquez is the best Colombian writer.

“Best” is subjective, and thus there is no evidence in existence to verifiably prove it. Keep opinions and all forms of non-testable hypotheses out of your essay.

Here’s something indefinite.

Gabriel García Márquez might use surrealist elements in a way that illuminates a human’s insecurities about the past and the future.

How can you prove “might” with evidence? Evidence cannot prove or disprove something that is by its nature uncertain. When creating a thesis for your line of reasoning, do not hedge or make a prediction.

So what do you do?

  1. Your thesis statement should be provable or disprovable. Someone should be able to validate or invalidate your arguments through alternate lines of reasoning.

  2. Your thesis statement should require a synthesis of evidence. If a single piece of evidence suffices to prove your point, you are not creating a thesis; you are restating someone else’s conclusion.

  3. Your thesis statement should be relevant to the topic. If your thesis statement isn’t relevant to the topic at hand, it will be invalidated.

Gabriel García Márquez uses surrealist elements in a way that illuminates personal, and uniquely Colombian, insecurities about the past and the future. That said, Márquez breaks the boundaries of language and culture, because his unique stories are like fairytales: uncomfortable fantasies that strike a chord at the level of the uncanny, where "who and where" matters far less than "how it feels."

This example thesis is arguable, it requires a synthesis of evidence, and it is relevant to Gabriel García Márquez, who is the topical figure.

Line of reasoning in your evidence

In terms of logical reasoning, your thesis is your conclusion (despite it heading up your essay). You begin with your conclusion, then you cite your evidence.

So now is the time to gather your evidence. Find articles, passages, quotes, and statistics that seem to support your thesis.

For instance, say your thesis is something like this.

In The Big Blue Falcon, Agent 009 causes more damage than he fixes.

For this thesis, a piece of evidence that proves he caused $9 million in property damages would help to support your claim.

But you’re not done yet. It is time to draw the line of reasoning from your evidence to your conclusion, and for that you need logic.

Line of reasoning in your logic

If the conclusion is the lightbulb and the evidence is the power switch, then the logic is the wiring that connects the two. If the wiring is faulty, the circuit will not function and the lightbulb will not light. The same goes with your logic. It needs to work.

Much the way electrical wiring is not as visible as the switch or the lightbulb, logic is not visible as evidence or the conclusion, which makes it the trickiest part of assembling your line of reasoning.

A fantastic way to understand if your logic is sound is to understand rhetorical fallacies, also known as logical fallacies. If you know what is illogical and can identify it, then you will be able to identify what is illogical about your own arguments so you can fix them.

There are many logical fallacies, including circular reasoning, the non-testable hypothesis, missing the point, and hasty generalization. Study up!

Once you are sure that your logic is not fallacious, and that indeed your evidence supports your conclusions, you have created a sound line of reasoning.

Line of reasoning lighbulb brain StudySmarterVery well done, electrician logician! flaticon.

Line of Reasoning Essay Examples

Here’s are two lines of reasoning that you might employ in an essay. Together, these lines of reasons feed into the same conclusion (your thesis).

Evidence: Chemical X hurts fish.

Logic: Hurting fish is bad.

Conclusion (thesis): Chemical X should not be dumped into the water, and the current practice needs to stop.


Evidence: Chemical X gets dumped in the water.

Logic: Fish are in the water.

Conclusion (thesis): Chemical X should not be dumped into the water, and the current practice needs to stop.


The first line of reasoning helps to prove the first part of the thesis, that "chemical X should not be dumped in the water," while the second line of reasoning helps to prove the second part of the thesis that "the current practice needs to stop."

This is how your essay should flow. Your numerous pieces of evidence should, together, validate the truth of your conclusion.

Line of Reasoning Synonyms

A line of reasoning is similar to an argument. However, a line of reasoning must be persuasive in order to be an argument, and an argument must present evidence, logic, and a conclusion to be a persuasive line of reasoning.

So while an argument and a line of reasoning can be the same, it is only under certain circumstances! Accurately, a persuasive line of reasoning is the same as a logical argument.

Line of Reasoning - Key Takeaways

  • A line of reasoning is the way you connect your evidence to your conclusions.
  • Evidence ➜ logic ➜ conclusion
  • A persuasive line of reasoning attempts to convince someone else to do something.
  • Make sure your thesis is good, before attempting to create any line of reasoning.
  • Validate your line of reasoning by testing it for rhetorical (logical) fallacies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Line of Reasoning

A line of reasoning is the way you connect your evidence to your conclusions.

Evidence ➜ logic ➜ conclusion. These are all parts of a strong line of reasoning, and be sure nothing is left out. Check for logical fallacies!

A line of reasoning does not have to be persuasive. However, a persuasive line of reasoning attempts to convince someone else to do something.

A line of reasoning is your method to fully and logically explain your arguments in a logical essay format. If your lines of reasoning are sound, then your essay will be sound. However, if your lines of reasoning are faulty, then your essay will be faulty as well.

To formulate a line of reasoning, you first need something to prove (a thesis). Once you have your thesis, the rest of your line of reasoning (evidence + logic) should support it.

Final Line of Reasoning Quiz

Question

A line of reasoning is the way you connect your evidence to your _____.

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Answer

Conclusions

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Question

Evidence ➜ _____ ➜ conclusion

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Answer

Logic

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Question

"Although I’m sick, I’m going to school today. Going to school sick makes me sicker and other people sick."


What is the flaw in this line of reasoning?


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Answer

This line of reasoning does not follow. Because it is a given that hurting people is bad, this reasoning indicates that you should not go to school. The conclusion is wrong.

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Question

The following is not a persuasive line of reasoning. True or false.


"I used to drive the chip delivery van back in the 70s, and you need a someone to drive this load RIGHT NOW. Let me ride the big truck, boss!"

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Answer

False. It is one. It contains evidence, logic, and a conclusion, and attempts to be persuasive.

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Question

If an argument looks like this, evidence ➜ logic ➜ conclusion, what does a counterargument look like?

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Answer

As they are both lines of reasoning, they look they same. Evidence ➜ logic ➜ conclusion.

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Question

Writing lines of reasoning in an essay is similar to a verbal argument, only it is _____.

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Answer

Formalized

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Question

To be sure you can chain together a strong line of reasoning, what are three things your thesis should not be?

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Answer

Something already proven, something unprovable, or something indefinite.

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Question

"To create a strong line of reasoning, your thesis should be provable but never disprovable."

True or false?

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Answer

False. If your thesis cannot be disproved, it is guilty of either being already proven or guilty of being a non-testable hypothesis. 

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Question

" If a single piece of evidence suffices to prove your point, you are not creating a thesis; you are restating someone else’s conclusion."


True or false?

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Answer

True. Your essay should require a synthesis of different pieces of evidence.

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Question

Where are some places you can gather evidence for your thesis?

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Answer

 Find articles, passages, quotes, and statistics that seem to support your thesis.

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Question

How can you test if your logic is without fault?

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Answer

Understand your rhetorical fallacies (logical fallacies).  If you know what is illogical and can identify it, then you will be able to identify what is illogical about your own arguments so you can fix them.

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Question

Name a logical fallacy you should avoid.

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Answer

Here are a few of them. Circular reasoning, the non-testable hypothesis, missing the point, and hasty generalization. There are many more!

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Question

In an essay, will multiple pieces of evidence lead to the same conclusion?

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Answer

Yes. This is another way of saying that evidence should support your thesis.

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Question

What is a synonym for persuasive line of reasoning?

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Answer

Logical argument

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Question

If your lines of reasoning are faulty, then your essay will be _____.


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Answer

Faulty as well

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