Reasoning Processes

→ Mind Map of Visualize This by Nathan Yau — Chapters 5 to 9

Right now we are analyzing Dynamic Information Visualization. This time I read chapters 5 to 9 of “Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics by Nathan Yau. As a result I developed a mind map with the main ideas and arguments:

MindNode – Visualize This — Chapters 5 to 9

→ Reasoning Process

The map presented above helped to apply and practice in class the different approaches to either set up an argument when writing or question arguments when reading.

Questioning arguments

We used three types of reasoning process to test the validity of an author’s argument and have a more ‘reflective’ reading strategy.

  • Contradictions. We need to have always in mind that facts that seem obvious are not automatically true. Looking for contradictory cues and exposing them help us to challenge the truth and test the validity of facts.
  • Assumptions. These are arguments based on possible facts that are reasonably true — due to the author’s interpretation of a previous fact. A way to spot assumptions is to look for words like probably, presumably, likely, possibly, etc.
  • Generalizations. An argument that is in general ‘true’ because we observe many examples of specific instances; its validity depends on the instances we observe.
Here you can take a look at the three types of reasoning applied to four arguments from this week’s reading Visualize This — Chapters 5 to 9

Questioning arguments from Visualize This

Setting up an argument

As part of a practice to set up our own argument for this week’s essay, we analyzed our reading according to four types of reasoning process.

  • Inductive reasoning. Many observations of similar things/events form a generalization. We try to anticipate future instances based on these observations, but we have to be aware of the exceptions.  We use this type of reasoning starting from details → to a single generalization.
  • Deductive reasoning. This type of reasoning has the opposite train of thought, we start with couple — or more — generalizations or premises in order to infer a third. We have to be careful when using subjective terms because they could be seen as a prejudice opinion.
  • Everyday reasoning. A combination of deductive and inductive. It usually ends with a diagnosis which is why it’s commonly used to solve problems.
  • Analog reasoning. The use of analogies to back up an argument, in other words “if two things are similar in one respect, they may be similar in other respects”.

I created a matrix to analyze some Visualize This arguments according to the reasoning processes mentioned above.

DeconstructingReasoning from Visualize This


Also along with M.E. Miller created an idea comparison matrix of two book characteristics and their opposites:

Idea Comparison Matrix – Visualize This