Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Norwood Builder, Scene1
Upon hearing the sound of loud footsteps racing up the stairs to their 221B Baker Street apartment in London, Sherlock Holmes and Watson begin practicing their deductive skills to determine who their visitor is. Starting with the facts they know — the sound of the footsteps on the stairs, the speed at which he runs up the stairs, and the fact that he didn’t even wait for Mrs. Hudson to answer the doorbell — they deduce that their visitor is a young man who is very worked up about something.
Deduction is a kind of reasoning that moves from general to specific. Holmes and Watson start with these general facts, and based on what they know in life from past experiences — other times that they have heard footsteps and knew who made them, they arrive at a specific picture of whom their guest must be.
McFarlane is surprised at everything that Holmes knows about him, but Holmes is just drawing conclusions from what he sees — how McFarlane is dressed, the papers he carries, and the symbol linked to his watch chain. His powers of deduction impress McFarlane. But McFarlane doesn’t have time to tell his story. Another guest arrives…
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We all use deductive reasoning, but some of us are more observant than others — some of us notice more detail. And from those details we can deduce things that a less observant person might not figure out. How about you? Are you very observant? And are you good at deductive reasoning? Try describing some details you noticed recently and what you were able to deduce from it. Please leave your reply in the comments below.