Solutions: Tips from the Masters

Hello again,

Well done for taking the time to learn more about mastering deductive storylines. Here are the solutions to your challenge as well as some suggestions for taking deductive arguments further.

Feel free to email us at if you have any questions.

Davina and Gerard



 1. What is the ultimate test for the veracity of a deductive argument?

The ultimate test – and hopefully the language in the question helped you realise that there could only be one ultimate test – is that the conclusion cannot be false. This is not the same as the conclusion being true: let me explain by way of example:

  • Davina always wears black when running Clarity Workshops
  • Davina is running a Clarity Workshop today
  • Therefore, Davina must be wearing black today.

When describing this deductive chain to you I may very well be running a training session and wearing black – which is often the case. However, there is really no guarantee. Just because the ‘rule' says I always wear black, you ought to think long and hard before you trust me to be that literal about my clothing choices. I don't always wear black when running training sessions.

2. When evaluating a deductive argument, we must consider …

That both the form (structure) and the content ‘stack up'. It is critical for both of these to be strong, as outlined in the example above. The form above is strong, but the content is not.

3. Ways to test your argument include …

All of the above: It is smart to be confident that you have sufficient proof and that the links between your statement, comment and implication are strong. It is also smart to ask a colleague to check it for you as we often miss minor – important – things in our own work.

4. Why should you avoid using four-point deductive arguments?

All of the above points are correct:

  • The more links between the ideas, the more chance the chain will break
  • The more links between ideas, the more confused the audience may become
  • It is very rare to really need to use four points to get your point across

5. How do you decide whether to choose to present your ideas deductively or not?

Your audience needs to know both how and why something should be done. Grouping structures only allow you to present one of these options at a time: either why OR how something should be done, unless they have a deductive structure lower down in the hierarchy.

6. Here are some tips from ‘the masters' that may help you master the art of storylining …

  1. Listen for the clue – do you or your audience need “why” and “how” in the same story
  2. Resist the temptation to tweak the logic and add premises – if it’s not working your logic isn’t right
  3. Don’t pretend it’s deductive when you’re replaying what your audience already knows
  4. Test the thinking



Now that you have learned the concepts, go and try them on something: right now!

When you have done so, check how you went against our Ten Point Storyline checklist. Download your copy: Storyline Assessment Kit



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