2.17 Deduction

Category: Logic and Mathematics

Keywords: syllogism, premisses, valid, logic, inferences, deductive, validity, inference, deduction, premiss, induction, calculus, premises, infer, formal

Number of Articles: 414
Percentage of Total: 1.3%
Rank: 27th

Weighted Number of Articles: 466.3
Percentage of Total: 1.4%
Rank: 15th

Mean Publication Year: 1959.7
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1963.8
Median Publication Year: 1963
Modal Publication Year: 1971

Topic with Most Overlap: Arguments (0.0437)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Propositions and Implications (0.0551)
Topic with Least Overlap: Evolutionary Biology (0.00042)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Feminism (0.00083)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the deductiontopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1914 when 6.0% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1901 when 0.1% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.17 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.45: Deduction.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Deductiontopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 2.4%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 1.3%. Ethics - 0.4%. Philosophical Review - 1.2%. Analysis - 2.2%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.1%. Journal of Philosophy - 1.4%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 1.0%. Philosophy of Science - 1.5%. Noûs - 1.4%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 1.1%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 1.2%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1878 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 5.3% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1901 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.1% of the articles.

Figure 2.46: Deduction articles in each journal.

Table 2.42: Characteristic articles of the deduction topic.
Table 2.43: Highly cited articles in the deduction topic.


This is a hard to classify topic. On the one hand, it’s clearly about logic, so that’s easy enough. But everything else about it is a little odd. The graphs don’t show much life after 1920. But it ends up being either the twenty-seventh or fifteenth largest topic, depending on which measure is used. The measure that makes it fifteenth is the one the graphs are showing. Its top keyword is syllogism, but most of the characteristic articles are very modern pieces that barely mention the word. In fact, the word mostly vanishes from the journals after the 1960s.

A scatterplot showing the frequency of the words syllogism. The word syllogism appears, on average across the years, 89 times per million words, and in the median year, it appears 56 times per million words. Its most frequent occurrence is in 1910 when it appears 449 times per million words, and its least frequent occurrence is in 1885 when it appears 0 times per million words.

Figure 2.47: How frequently does syllogism appear in the journals?

Part of what’s happened here is that while the model has decided to treat talk of implication back in topic 7 differently to talk here of validity, it’s thrown some very old notions in with this topic. That’s not absurd, but it does lead to some odd results. If squinting, a brief uptick can be seen at the end of the graph. But a big part of the story here is that this kind of work, to the extent that it’s supported by the discipline at all, has largely moved to more specialist journals. So not as much of it is seen in these journals as in the past. And it would take a broader study to see what happens when specialist logic journals are added to the mix.