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scandal bohemia

In "A Scandal in Bohemia," Sherlock Holmes says to Dr. Watson, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data."  Explain why this is an...


Sherlock Holmes is noted for his powers of deduction. But in the statement quoted in the posted question, he is showing that he also relies heavily on inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is based on the accumulation of data, and therefore it is the kind of reasoning most often used in science. Holmes frequently displays his interest in scientific experimentation by conducting elaborate and sometimes bizarre experiments in his own rooms. He is often described as working with chemicals and laboratory equipment. He also makes comments to Watson and others which show that he has acquired scientific knowledges of all sorts of things related to his unique profession through his reading of scientific books and treatises, and he has published many scientific treatises himself. When he makes deductions they are usually based on the evidence that is right there before him. When he has no evidence he will not theorize until he has acquired as much as he needs, usually through personal observation. In his most famous story, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," he sends Watson to Baskerville Hall in order to acquire data for him. But Watson proves to be inadequate to the task, and Holmes has to go to the area in secret to see for himself.

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