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1. any process of reasoning from premises to a conclusion
2. Logic the specific mode of reasoning used



the mental activity that makes a connection between disparate thoughts, linking them in a set of premises and conclusions. It is by inference that the norms and categories of such connections, which are inherently present in the social or individual consciousness, are expressed on the level of “inner speech.” Indeed, these norms and categories themselves—in any given instance—constitute the psychological basis of inference; when they coincide with the rules and laws of logic, the inference is judged by its result to be equivalent to logical deduction, although generally speaking there is a qualitative difference between logical deduction and inference.

Logical deduction, as distinct from inference, rests on “external means”; it operates through the verbal (symbolic) recording of thoughts or through their formalization—that is, the codification of thoughts and representation of their connections by one or another formal language or system, such as calculus—with the goal of reducing to a minimum the subconscious, enthymematic, and elliptical elements of deduction and translating abstract or “convoluted” thought processes into the language of “images.” Furthermore, the “legitimacy” of inference need not necessarily be determined by logical norms. For example, an incomplete induction is precisely an inference and not a logical deduction, inasmuch as the connection between premises and conclusions in induction has a factual and psychological basis (as expressed in the well-known norms of generalization) but lacks a logical basis—that is, lacks those formal rules by which thinking proceeds from the particular to the general.

A further distinction is drawn between inference and reasoning: the latter is always a consciously willed mental activity, while an inference, in principle at least, can be both involuntary and an act of the subconscious.



The logical process by which new facts are derived from known facts by the application of inference rules.

See also symbolic inference, type inference.
References in periodicals archive ?
Let us look at a middle school classroom that was teaching students about making inferences from data about flight.
Connective inferences are made when the reader identifies a causal relation between the statement that he or she is reading, and information that remained activate in working memory after processing the immediately previous sentence.
However, in Brandom's view, propositions containing normative terms are not implicit or unstated premises in the inferences they license.
2) In order to issue such an adverse inference instruction, some courts require a showing of bad faith or intentionality, while others require only negligence.
Research on inferences points to the fact that backward inferences dominate associations and predictions during deep understanding.
First rate fact finding in the form of reasonable inferences is particularly important in criminal trials, where freedom, reputation and the safety of the public are at stake.
In this article I present an update that uses these chances to generate magnitude-based inferences.
This article will discuss those inferences and presumptions that arise in situations where a party that can provide information on a subject fails to do so.
The simple linear regression equation relating these two variables was also generated but a check of the assumptions for making inferences would need to be evaluated first.
Katz & Anne Marie Muscaro, Spoilage of Evidence--Crimes, Sanctions, Inferences, and Torts, 29 TORT & INS.
The primary purpose of this dissertation was to examine a potential cause, inference generation, of the positive association between interest and learning from texts.