Saturday, 26 March 2016

Brief Discussion on Inductive/Deductive Profiling

Profiles constructed by the FBI profilers, most private profilers, clinical psychologists, criminologists, and the police routinely draw inferences about, for example, serial murderers and their behaviors based solely on work experience, gut feelings, and the motivation of the offender. This form of deductive profiling is where the profiler assumes one or more facts as self-evident about a crime or offender and then, following work experience and hunches, arrives at other facts commonly called conclusions. Hence, the FBI profiles are deductive rather than inductive. However, some argue that the FBI profiling method is inductive. Broadly, the argument put forth for the FBI method being inductive is, since the FBI relies on data collected from interviews with serial murderers, as a foundation for developing their profiles, then their reasoning must be inductive. The basis for this argument is flawed, because the data collected by the FBI has never been empirically analyzed, or has it been properly organized in a systematic manner so that profilers could refer to it in future. Rather, the information has been passed down over the years based on memories of past experiences and inferences gleaned from the interviews in order to arrive at conclusions about a particular case. To be sure, deductive reasoning is from the general (passed down information) to the specific (case).

John Stuart Mill established a distinction between deductive logic, in which we extrapolate from general principles, and inductive logic, in which we draw conclusions from specific cases. Mill maintained that inductive logic is the true basis of knowledge.

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