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Comparative, Ideological, and Empirical Reasoning


Critical thinking requires more than problem-solving, but also the ability to predict the possible outcomes of an occurrence based on previous experience and acquired skills. It can be divided further into comparative reasoning, ideological reasoning, and empirical reasoning. These different types of reasoning help a person to derive a conclusion about arguments, and they are all useful in different situations. Their benefits and disadvantages are unique to the situation at hand, with each mode of reasoning being applicable to a situation that another cannot be effectively applied. Although each type of reasoning has advantages and pitfalls, empirical reasoning is the most efficient reasoning with limited room for erroneous judgment.

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Comparative reasoning bases its judgment on the reasoning that is arrived at by comparing two different things using prior knowledge of one. This reasoning has the advantage of allowing one to pick something that is better than another. However, one can have prejudice towards something that is new, leading to poor decision-making. In addition, comparison leads to one judging an idea or a thing by standards that may not apply to it, therefore misjudging and arriving at a wrong conclusion. It is a method of reasoning that is most beneficial when applied in a situation that requires one to choose between two things and is more efficient when combined with empirical reasoning. This is because empirical reasoning uses proof to conclude, and comparison with proof is an efficient way to judge.

Ideological reasoning is a type of reasoning that is based on a person’s beliefs, and it is usually biased towards the person’s likes and dislikes. The reasoning takes a superior stand, and when the cause is just, ideological reasoning can help a person attain immeasurable achievements. Unfortunately, ideological reasoning can lead to disastrous events when misguided because the person focuses on their idea, and deems it superior to other people’s reasoning. It can make a tyrant, a dictator, or even a psychopath. This reasoning is therefore beneficial when applied objectively, and wisely.

Empirical reasoning is applied using proof to conclude an idea or a hypothesis as true. It leaves room for correction of error and improvement. Because of its use of factual evidence, it is mostly used in science. It is an accurate form of reasoning because a person can state facts that led him to a decision, and make it possible for others to weigh the facts and arrive at their own conclusions. Empirical reasoning nullifies or limits bias, and helps one to make practical decisions. The main pitfall of this reasoning is that not all situations have room for investigation of facts. Some situations are more emotional than logical and therefore, empirical reasoning cannot be effectively applied. However, it is considered the more accurate form of reasoning because it is based on factual evidence that can be proven and improved on unlike the other two forms of reasoning, which leave wide room for bias. Empirical reasoning also allows input from outside sources thus deriving a conclusion that is knowledgeable and well researched.


In conclusion, the three types of reasoning have their advantages and disadvantages. However, each has a situation to which application is most suitable. When applied appropriately, each of the processes of reasoning helps an individual to make helpful decisions. The superiority of empirical reasoning stems from its accuracy and limited room for bias, but critical thinking is more wholesome when the three types of reasoning are combined in the decision-making process.


Facione, P. A. (2011). Think Critically. Prentice Hall.

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