Sherlock Holmes: The Master of Riddles

In 1887 the most famous fictional detective to have ever existed was conceived. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began writing his series centered around Sherlock Holmes this year. The series would continue until 1927. During Doyle’s life his series became very popular and has become even more popular after he died. The character of Sherlock Holmes has been adapted into almost every mode of art including plays, TV shows, and movies. Most recently in film, the character was played by Robert Downey Jr. in the 2009 film entitled Sherlock Holmes. The film did so well that a sequal would later be made. The sequel, also starring Robert Downey Jr., was entitled Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. More recent adaptations of the series include two television shows that have done very well: Sherlock and Elementary.

The character of Sherlock Holmes has been embraced because of his eccentric personality and his lack of interest in society. While he still interacts with people regularly, he is also somewhat inverted. But the most important trait Sherlock possesses is his ability to take in his environment and make broad assumptions from the smallest observations. For this reason he is great at solving riddles. The reasoning he uses to take these simple facts and make broad assumptions has been called Holmesian deduction. This form of reasoning involves taking simple observations and using abduction to make broad assumptions. This is best illustrated by a quote from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself: “From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other.”

Almost every time Holmes appears in popular culture he is immediately met with a situation in which he uses his deductive abilities to figure something out. In the 2009 movie, Sherlock Holmes, Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) meets his assistant Watson’s fiancé, a governess, and makes some assumptions about her that turn out to be true. He makes the…

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