Synthesis plays a critical role in determining the ideation effectiveness in conceptual design. When synthesis is formulated as a reasoning activity, there are several fundamental reasoning principles in formal logic that can be applied to support making the “what→how” propositions. This paper introduces three such principles that define a good what→how proposition in synthesis, namely the synthetic principle, the instantiation principle, and the abduction principle. Furthermore, we present a rigorous case study that explores the impacts of these reasoning principles on the ideation effectiveness. Specifically, we conduct a correlation analysis between the count of what→how propositions that follow and fail to follow every principle with different ideation metrics. The results provide clear evidence that certain correlations exist between the reasoning activity and the ideation effectiveness in conceptual design.

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