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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 ?
Linguistic states are cognitive states which are not inferentially integrated.
96) And, the very name of the label, Illegal Art, while only a rhetorical observation, when viewed along with the above facts, inferentially suggests "knowledge" of infringing use.
Differential Pressure The most common type of flowmeter, the DP, measures the flow of gases inferentially, employing the Bernoulli equation that interprets the relationship between pressure and flow rate.
Though no patrons are known, Weber am Bach interprets these pictures inferentially by positioning them in multiple contexts: the artist's return to Strasbourg from 1517/18 until his death in 1545, the social class and Humanist interests of his likely patrons, the events of the Reformation in Strasbourg, and the attitudes of Protestant theologians towards the Virgin and her representation.
On the other hand, [they may be apprehended] inferentially, as are the five sense faculties.
Data collected from these questionnaires was analysed descriptively through the use of frequencies, percentages and means; and inferentially using a paired t-test.
In Garcia's own lifetime, and in his own presence at a lecture given in London, so great an artist as Victor Maurel bitterly inveighed against the "coup de la glotte," and inferentially, of course, against Garcia as a singing teacher; illustrating his attack by sundry grunts and quacks of a horrible nature.
In this way there is a ready passage from the natural to the supernatural (a term which Newman revealingly does not use in this context) on the epistemological and inferentially on the ontological level.
The immediacy of the perceptual shock in these compositions is thus modified by vectors of attention for which reasons are solicited that involve us inferentially in other reasons.
In addition, including low/high dummy variables for TMT prestige and organizational legitimacy in our subsequent regressions produces inferentially identical results.
16) The Sinclair ruling inferentially indicates that the Department's oft-proffered distinction between open and closed cases has little weight.