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The role of the detective in the detection of crimes

Enviado por   •  5 de Julio de 2011  •  853 Palabras (4 Páginas)  •  2.228 Visitas

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Generally speaking, a detective is “a person, especially a police officer, whose job is to examine crimes and catch criminals” or “a person employed by somebody to find out information about somebody/something” (Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary). But, what is the role of the detective in crime fiction? In this essay, it will be shown that his role is simply to solve the crime. This will be proven by analyzing the process by which the detective achieves his goal: the process of detection.

As it is known, Poe is the one who creates the figure of the ‘Genius Detective’, later borrowed by Doyle in the creation of his brainy, eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes. The ‘Genius’ often refers to a person with distinguished mental abilities. The genius detective is depicted as a reasoning and observing machine. Being well-organized, the detective does not overlook the details. First, from observing meticulously the “insignificant” details, the detective will gather all the useful elements to construct his deductions. The detective tries to figure things out for himself rather than to ask for help. In the detective we see the superior mental powers of the genius in action. Then, the detective is going to use what it is known as “rational deduction”. The rational deduction consists of inferring particular instances from general law. Finally, as he is the ideal “reasoner”, he will use his mathematician’s intelligence to apply it to the logic of the events. But, as he is also a refined poet, he will include the sensitivity and the artist’s perception to fathom the secrets of the case. So, he is going to interpret

physical data by means of his knowledge of the human nature and his intuition. The decisions he makes are based on past experience. By analyzing and carefully weighing out all the feasible options, the detective will make decisions. The detective continually reconstructs the background in which mysterious events occurred in order to establish what caused the crime.

Take ‘The Science of Deduction’ chapter, which appears in some of Doyle’s novels, for instance. In this chapter, Holmes shows his analytic and deductive abilities. He highlights also the two main elements of Holmes’s method: a scientific approach based on the accumulation and cataloguing of data, and rational and logical analysis. Such reasoning has normally been termed rational deduction. Stephen Knight (1951-1985), a British author best remembered by his books ‘The Brotherhood’ and ‘Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution’ says: “If Holmes really were finding patterns in facts he would be practicing induction”; that is, the inferring of general law from particular instances. In fact, what the stories repeatedly demonstrate is that Holmes already knows what certain phenomena will mean in advance, and that by inferring particular instances from general law, he is actually practicing deduction. The deductive method clearly makes reference to a sense


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