Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning in Ace Attorney

I’d like to start off this blog post by giving a brief definition of the titular words; inductive reasoning works from the general to the specific, while deductive does the opposite.

Today, I’ll be exploring the ways in which these two reasoning methods have a clear connection to the video game series Ace Attorney. These games are lighthearted satires of the Japanese judicial system, wherein attorneys have to prove their client innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, instead of the other way around.

Let’s use the attorney and prosecutor combo featured in the first 3 games as our example: Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth, respectively. These two are the most well-known characters from the games, and also showcase a side of this post that you knew was coming; Phoenix is an ENTP (focus on Ti) and Edgeworth is an INTJ (focus on Te). Interestingly, the pattern of a Ti user being the attorney and a Te user being the prosecutor is flipped on its head in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

Since the aspects of Ace Attorney I’ll be primarily discussing happen during legal cases and in the courtroom, our first descriptions should be reworked a tad.

In this context, inductive reasoning refers to the process of collecting evidence before presenting a final theory. Similarly, deductive reasoning is the process of creating an initial theory, then gathering evidence to either prove or disprove said theory.

It is fairly evident that Phoenix is an ENTP, with a unique way of proving his client not guilty that clearly displays his Ne usage. He starts off most cases in over his head, with the odds stacked against him and his peers doubting his competency, but always manages to turn it around and save his defendant in the end.

Since Phoenix is the game’s protagonist, we are able to easily discern his primary method through the player’s story-driven actions. Although Phoenix does gather evidence in the time building up to each court session, he always has an absurd level of trust that his client is not guilty. Since he starts from this theory, Phoenix is able to build a case and find the weaknesses in it, trusting that the process will lead him to the truth.

On the other end is Miles, who we meet in our first case. He is cunning, analytical, and has a much stronger grasp of law and the case at hand than Phoenix, especially with the prosecution’s connection to the police and court systems. 

Miles is an INTJ, whose Ni is evident in how he ruthlessly controls the narrative of each case in order to focus the court on his false lines of reasoning. Miles seemingly has no qualms with unethical practices, believing that his primary goal is to “win” the case, rather than look for the truth; in the first case he even forges an autopsy report! 

There are scraps of information we receive throughout the games about Miles, but we are mostly left in the dark until his spin-off title, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. We are given insight into how Miles’ thought process and logical reasoning is made with the game mechanic of Logic. 

Miles collects thoughts and questions he has throughout the investigation, being exceedingly thorough and precise. After he has gathered every loose thread, only then does Miles connect the dots to form more complete evidence and make his deductions. 

Another aspect that I find interesting is the contrast between Phoenix and Miles’ use of evidence. Phoenix collects physical objects while Miles utilizes short bits of information in order to prove their respective sides, but Miles still turns to the material when up against Phoenix in court.

In reality, everyone uses inductive and deductive reasoning depending on the situation. However, I would wager that your thinking function has at least some part to play in which method you prefer to use. As for myself, I am mainly a Ne and Fi user, but I almost always use inductive logic, fittingly for a tertiary Te user.


  • March 3, 2023
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