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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 ?
Differences are drawn between inferential meaning and Grice's conversational implicature to justify the proposed modification of Grice's maxims with the addition of the selectiveness principle.
Abramson of Temple University, Philadelphia--holds that patients with certain cognitive vulnerabiities and depressogenic inferential styles are prone to developing a specific subset of depressive symptoms when they experience stressful events.
For some studies, along with exploratory and descriptive analyses, it is appropriate to use inferential statistical analyses.
The first is the primarily observational one of determining the range of contextualized interpretations of inferential sentences.
Second, their identification allows inferential connections to be made between elements present within discourses; these may be either external or internal inferences.
I have devoted a good portion of the past several years to development of tools and learning opportunities for appraisers directed toward improvement of competency in the use of descriptive and inferential statistical methods in their valuation practices.
Fans of Advance 3D Chess already know that the forms, strategies and methods of this advanced chess game more than challenges traditional chess; especially on an international level where players are global--so there's likely already an audience for Advance Chess--The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model, Model III--Applicable Prognostics of Spectral Inferential Analysis for Distributive Cognitive Logistics Edition 3 Volume 1, a technical discussion of spectral inferential analysis of the game.
This paper offers an inferential conception of computer simulations, emphasizing the role that simulations play as inferential devices to represent empirical phenomena.
In other words, the assumptions of inferential statistics are absolutely required for predictive estimation.
Parts 4, 5 and 6 on inferential statistics can also be combined into one Part having three sub-sections: tests for mean, theoretical distributions and other tests like t-test.
An inferential commitment to this material inference could be expressed through the proposition: