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Term: Inference

Inferences are evidence-based guesses. They are the conclusions a reader draws about the unsaid based on what is actually said. Inferences drawn while reading are much like inferences drawn in everyday life. If your best friend comes in from a blind date and looks utterly miserable, you would probably infer the date was not a success. Drawing inferences while you read requires exactly the same willingness to look at the evidence and come to a conclusion that has not been expressed in words. Only in reading, the evidence for your inference consists solely of words rather than actual events, expressions, or gestures.

Reading Tips:
1. Make sure your inferences rely mainly on the authors words rather than your own feelings or experience. Your goal is to read the authors mind, not invent your own message. 2. Check to see if your inference is contradicted by any statements in the paragraph. If it is, it is not an appropriate or useful inference. 3. If the passage is a tough one, check to see if you can actually identify the statements that led you to your conclusion. This kind of close reading is a good comprehension check. It will also help you remember the material.

Exercise 1
Directions: Each item in this exercise describes a famous person. Its your job to infer the name of the person described.

1. A small-town lawyer from Illinois, tall and lanky with an Adams apple that could have gone down in the Guinness Book of Records had it existed in the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, he changed the face of American history, steering it through a civil war that left both sides bloody. Who knows what more he could have done had an assassins bullet not cut him down. The person described is _______________________________ In drawing the correct inference, which piece of information is more useful: a. He had a big Adams apple. b. He steered the nation through a civil war. Explain your answer:

2. Glittering and shaking to the strains of Proud Mary, this lady ruled the stage in the sixties, but Ike ruled the roost until she walked out the door. It took her almost a decade to get back on top but she still remains one of pops great divas. Closing in on sixty, she can still

belt out rock and roll with singers half her age, and Simply the Best just may qualify as her own personal theme song. The person described is _____________________________ In drawing the appropriate inference, which piece of information is more useful. a. She ruled the stage but Ike ruled the roost. b. She was a popular singer in the sixties.

Exercise 2
Directions: For each situation, draw what you think is an appropriate inference.

1. You have just gotten a pit bull puppy from an animal shelter. Hes lovable but nervous. If you raise your voice for any reason, he cowers and trembles. If you scold him, he hides. When you got him from the shelter, he had a slight limp and a deep scratch across his nose.

Inference:

2. You are a high school student sitting in class when a substitute teacher walks in and announces that your regular teacher is ill. Everyone in the class including you erupts in applause. The substitute raps his knuckles on the desk for order, but the students ignore him and talk louder.

Inference:

Exercise 3
Directions: Each item in this exercise introduces a topic. Six specific statements about the topic follow. Read them carefully. Then choose the more appropriate inference.

1. Topic: Shakespeare in nineteenth-century America Specific Statements: a. In the early nineteenth century, Shakespeare was the most widely performed playwright in both the North and Southeast.

b. In the first half of the nineteenth century, English and American actors could always earn money by performing Shakespeare in towns both big and small. c. American audiences were famous for their participation in performances of Shakespeares plays: They hurled eggs and tomatoes at the villains and cheered and whistled for the heroes. d. By the end of the nineteenth century, theater owners claimed that most ordinary people couldnt understand Shakespeare, and they were refusing to stage his plays. e. In the early 1800s, theater goers in big cities could often choose between three different productions of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet; by the end of the nineteenth century, it was hard to find one production of a Shakespeare play, let alone several.

Inference a. Early American audiences embraced Shakespeares plays enthusiastically because they wanted to prove that they were as clever and sophisticated as their former British rulers. b. The role of Shakespeare in America changed dramatically as the nineteenth century drew to a close.

2. Topic: The medics in World War II Specific Statements: a. During training for combat, the medics were often despised because most of them had refused to take up arms. b. The medics had their own barracks and were separated from combat soldiers, who referred to them as pill pushers and laughed at their medical drills. c. In actual combat, it was often the medics who meant the difference between life and death for soldiers wounded in battle; they were the ones who braved gunfire to carry wounded soldiers to the hospital. d. In many divisions, soldiers who had lived through combat took up collections in order to provide bonuses for the medics. e. Interviewing veterans of World War II, author Stephen Ambrose consistently heard from men who believed they owed their lives to some member of the medical core.

Inference a. The combat experience profoundly changed the way soldiers felt about the medical core.

b. Despite their bravery in the battles of World War II, medics never really received the respect that was due them.

Exercise 4
Directions: Read each paragraph. Then choose the inference that could effectively sum up the main idea.

1. When World War II broke out in Europe in 1939, the United States was the only major power without a propaganda agency. More important, despite prodding from England and France, the U.S. had no plans to create one. During World War I, a government-based group known as the Committee for Public Information had successfully stirred up public feeling against German-Americans because America was at war with Germany. As a result, many innocent German-American citizens had been insulted, beaten, even lynched. In addition, a good portion of the American public still believed that the United States had been tricked into entering World War I because of British propaganda. Distrustful of propaganda in general, there was little widespread support for a government agency dispensing it when the second world war broke out.

Inference a. Because of what had happened during World War I, the American public was suspicious of propaganda and not inclined to support its use when World War II first erupted. b. Aware of how the German government was using propaganda to spread hate and violence, the American public was reluctant to make use of it at the beginning of World War II.

2. At his death in 1971, trumpeter Louis Armstrong was much loved as a celebrity. Yet as a musician, he no longer commanded wide respect among the general public. To most people, he was the man with the toothy smile who made occasional appearances in television and movies usually singing what had become his signature songs Hello, Dolly and Its a Wonderful World. Jazz enthusiasts, however, had another take on the passing of Louis Armstrong. To them he was the New Orleans-born musician who had, along with Bix Biederbecke, introduced the solo to jazz. With records like Struttin with Some Barbecue, Im not Rough, and Potato Head Blues, Louis became the first great jazz influence. As music critic Terry Teachout has written, Louis Armstrong was the player other players copied. Still, at his death, few really knew what Louis had accomplished. In his honor, radio and television broadcasts played Hello Dolly, not West-End Blues, his 1928 recording that starts off with what may be the most famous horn solo in jazz.

Inference a. A hero to much of the jazz community, Louis Armstrong was forgotten by the general public at the time he died.

b. At his death, Louis Armstrong was a beloved celebrity whose spectacular achievements had been forgotten by all but devoted jazz fans.

Exercise 5
Directions: Read each paragraph. Then draw an inference that sums up the main idea.

1. In the movies, Englands King Richard the Firsthe of the lion heart and Robin Hood fameis a hero of spotless reputation. In Hollywoods many versions of the Robin Hood story, for example, Robin worships good King Richard and would willingly die for him. History, however, offers a different slant on Richards supposed goodness. In 1189, the Pope called for yet another crusade to take back the holy land of Jerusalem from Moslem rule. Intent on following the Popes order, Richard combined forces with King Philip the II of France. Together, they managed to take the town of Acre, a port on what is now Israels Northwestern coast. Attempting to blackmail the Moslem ruler Saladin into giving up sacred lands, Richard took 2,500 civilians hostage, many of them women and children. When Saladin refused, Richard promptly slaughtered every last one of his hostages. Inference:

2. When Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow, she was twenty years old. Although she had been a rebellious child and teenager, she had never broken a law in her life. The worst thing she had done in her mothers opinion was run off and get married to a shiftless womanizer who humiliated and neglected her. When Clyde came along, Bonnie was ripe for the attentions of a man who seemed to think she was both important and attractive. As long as he didnt desert her, Bonnie didnt much care about Clydes two-year jail sentence. In jail at least, she knew where he was, and she could write him daily letters about how much she loved him. Bonnie, however, got nervous when she heard that Clyde was planning a jailbreak. To bind him more tightly to her, she smuggled him a gun and helped him escape. After he got caught and sent back to prison, Bonnie was even more determined to wait for the man she called her one true love. Upon his release from jail, Bonnie took Clyde home to meet her folks and announced she was going to Houston, Texas to get a new job. The next time her mother heard from her, Bonnie Parker was sitting in jail and had formally started her career as one half of the most famous bandit duo in history.

Exercise 1
Abraham Lincoln Clue: He steered the country through civil war. 1. Explanation: Lots of people have big Adams apples, but America has had only one civil war. Tina Turner 2. Clue: She ruled the stage but Ike ruled the roost. Explanation: There were many popular women singers in the sixties but only one was

linked to a domineering husband named Ike.

Exercise 2
Answers may vary. 1. Inference: The puppy may well have been abused by its former owners. 2. Inference: The students are going to take advantage of the substitute teacher.

Exercise 3
1. b; 2. a

Exercise 4
1. a; 2. b

Exercise 5
Answers will vary. 1. Richard the Lionhearted was not so pure of heart as some movies suggest. 2. Her romantic attachment to Clyde Barrow led Bonnie Parker into a life of crime.

nference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.[1] The conclusion drawn is also called an inference. The laws of valid inference are studied in the field of logic. Human inference (i.e. how humans draw conclusions) is traditionally studied within the field of cognitive psychology; artificial intelligence researchers develop automated inference systems to emulate human inference. Statistical inference allows for inference from quantitative data.

Contents
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1 Accuracy of inductive inferences 2 Examples of deductive inference 3 Incorrect inference 4 Automatic logical inference o 4.1 Example using Prolog o 4.2 Use with the semantic web

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4.3 Bayesian statistics and probability logic 4.4 Nonmonotonic logic[2] 5 See also 6 References
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[edit] Accuracy of inductive inferences


The process by which a conclusion is inferred from multiple observations is called inductive reasoning. The conclusion may be correct or incorrect, or correct to within a certain degree of accuracy, or correct in certain situations. Conclusions inferred from multiple observations may be tested by additional observations.

[edit] Examples of deductive inference


Greek philosophers defined a number of syllogisms, correct three part inferences, that can be used as building blocks for more complex reasoning. We begin with the most famous of them all: 1. All men are mortal 2. Socrates is a man 3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. The reader can check that the premises and conclusion are true, but Logic is concerned with inference: does the truth of the conclusion follow from that of the premises? The validity of an inference depends on the form of the inference. That is, the word "valid" does not refer to the truth of the premises or the conclusion, but rather to the form of the inference. An inference can be valid even if the parts are false, and can be invalid even if the parts are true. But a valid form with true premises will always have a true conclusion. For example, consider the form of the following symbological track: 1. All apples are blue. 2. A banana is an apple. 3. Therefore, a banana is blue. For the conclusion to be necessarily true, the premises need to be true. Now we turn to an invalid form. 1. All A are B. 2. C is a B. 3. Therefore, C is an A. To show that this form is invalid, we demonstrate how it can lead from true premises to a false conclusion. 1. All apples are fruit. (True)

2. Bananas are fruit. (True) 3. Therefore, bananas are apples. (False) A valid argument with false premises may lead to a false conclusion: 1. All fat people are Greek. 2. John Lennon was fat. 3. Therefore, John Lennon was Greek. When a valid argument is used to derive a false conclusion from false premises, the inference is valid because it follows the form of a correct inference. A valid argument can also be used to derive a true conclusion from false premises: 1. All fat people are musicians 2. John Lennon was fat 3. Therefore, John Lennon was a musician In this case we have two false premises that imply a true conclusion.

[edit] Incorrect inference


An incorrect inference is known as a fallacy. Philosophers who study informal logic have compiled large lists of them, and cognitive psychologists have documented many biases in human reasoning that favor incorrect reasoning.

[edit] Automatic logical inference


AI systems first provided automated logical inference and these were once extremely popular research topics, leading to industrial applications under the form of expert systems and later business rule engines. An inference system's job is to extend a knowledge base automatically. The knowledge base (KB) is a set of propositions that represent what the system knows about the world. Several techniques can be used by that system to extend KB by means of valid inferences. An additional requirement is that the conclusions the system arrives at are relevant to its task.

[edit] Example using Prolog


Prolog (for "Programming in Logic") is a programming language based on a subset of predicate calculus. Its main job is to check whether a certain proposition can be inferred from a KB (knowledge base) using an algorithm called backward chaining. Let us return to our Socrates syllogism. We enter into our Knowledge Base the following piece of code:
mortal(X) : - man(X). man(socrates).

( Here :- can be read as i Generall i P Q (i P t en Q) t en in Prolog we would code Q:-P (Q i P).) This states that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man. Now we can ask the Prolog system about Socrates:
?- mortal(socrates).

(where ?- signi ies a query: Can mort l( ocrat ). be deduced from the KB using the rules) gi es the answer " es". On the other hand, asking the Prolog system the following:
?- mortal(plato).

gi es the answer "No". This is because Prolog does not know anything about Plato, and hence defaults to any property about Plato being false (the so-called closed world assumption). Finally ?- mortal(X) (Is anything mortal) would result in " es" (and in some implementations: " es": X=socrates) Prolog can be used for vastly more complicated inference tasks. See the corresponding article for further examples.

[edi U e wi h the semanti web


Recently automatic reasoners found in semantic web a new field of application. Being based upon first-order logic, knowledge expressed using one variant of OWL can be logically processed, i.e., inferences can be made upon it.

[edit] Bayesian statisti s and probability logi


Philosophers and scientists who follow the Bayesian framework for inference use the mathematical rules of probability to find this best explanation. The Bayesian view has a number of desirable featuresone of them is that it embeds deductive (certain) logic as a subset (this prompts some writers to call Bayesian probability "probability logic" following , E. T. Jaynes). Bayesians identify probabilities with degrees of beliefs, with certainly true propositions having probability 1, and certainly false propositions having pr obability 0. To say that "it s going to rain tomorrow" has a 0.9 probability is to say that you consider the possibility of rain tomorrow as extremely likely. Through the rules of probability, the probability of a conclusion and of alternatives can be calculated. The best explanation is most often identified with the most probable (seeBayesian decision theory). A central rule of Bayesian inference is Bayes' theorem, which gave its name to the field. See Bayesian inference for examples.

[edit] Nonmonotoni logi

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A relation of inference is monotonic if the addition of premises does not undermine previously reached conclusions; otherwise the relation is nonmonotonic. Deductive inference, is monotonic: if a conclusion is reached on the basis of a certain set of premises, then that conclusion still holds if more premises are added. By contrast, everyday reasoning is mostly nonmonotonic because it involves risk: we jump to conclusions from deductively insufficient premises. We know when it is worth or even necessary (e.g. in medical diagnosis) to take the risk. Yet we are also aware that such inference is defeasiblethat new information may undermine old conclusions. Various kinds of defeasible but remarkably successful inference have traditionally captured the attention of philosophers (theories of induction, Peirces theory of abduction, inference to the best explanation, etc.). More recently logicians have begun to approach the phenomenon from a formal point of view. The result is a large body of theories at the interface of philosophy, logic and artificial intelligence.

References
1. ^ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/inference 2. ^ Fuhrmann, Andr. Nonmonotonic Logic.
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Hacking, Ian (2000). An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521775019. Jaynes, Edwin Thompson (2003). Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59271-2. McKay, David J.C. (2003). Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-64298-1. Russell, Stuart J.; Norvig, Peter (2003), Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2nd ed.), Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-790395-2 Tijms, Henk (2004). Understanding Probability. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521701724.

Inference: The Process


Inference is a mental process by which we reach a conclusion based on specific evidence. Inferences are the stock and trade of detectives examining clues, of doctors diagnosing diseases, and of car mechanics repairing engine problems. We infer motives, purpose, and intentions.
Inference is essential to, and part of, being human. We engage in inference every day. We interpret actions to be examples of behavior characteristics, intents, or expressions of particular feelings. We infer it is raining when we see someone with an open umbrella. We infer people are thirsty if they ask for a glass of water. We infer that evidence in a text is authoritative when it is attributed to a scholar in the field. We want to find significance. We listen to remarks, and want to make

sense of them. What might the speaker mean? Why is he or she saying that? We go beyond specific remarks to underlying significance or broader meaning. When we read that someone cheated on his or her income taxes, we might take that as an example of financial ingenuity, daring, or stupidity. We seek purposes and reasons. Inferences are not random. While they may come about mysteriously with a sudden jump of recognition, a sense of "Ah ha!," inferences are very orderly. Inferences may be guesses, but they are educated guesses based on supporting evidence.The evidence seems to require that we reach a specific conclusion. Evidence is said toimply; readersinfer. While this image suggests an intent or power on the part of evidence that does not existhow, after all, can a fact compel a certain conclusion?the image and resulting terminology are useful nonetheless. The sense of inevitability to the conclusion suggests that we did not jump to that conclusion or make it up on our own, but found it by reasoning from the evidence. The above image implies that everyone will reach the same conclusion. That obviously is not the caseas the examples above suggest. The umbrella might be protection from the sun, the request for water might indicate a need to take a pill, and a footnote may cite only one side of a controversy. Here again, the line between inference and jumping to a conclusion can be awfully thin. A man gets on a bus. What might be implied by each of the following? y y y He ran to catch the bus. He is carrying a suitcase. He asks the driver for change of a $100 bill.

Inferences are not achieved with mathematical rigor. Inferences do not have the certainty obtained with deductive reasoning. Inferences tend to reflect prior knowledge and experience as well as personal beliefs and assumptions. Inferences thus tend to reflect one's stake in a situation or one's interests in the outcome. People may reason differently or bring different assumptions or premises to bear. Given evidence that PCB's cause cancer in people, and that PCB's are in a particular water system, all reasonable people would reach the conclusion that that water system is dangerous to people. But given evidence that there is an increase in skin cancer among people who sun bathe, not all people would conclude that sunbathing causes skin cancer. Sun bathing, they might argue, may be coincidental with exposure to other cancer causing factors. More often than not, disagreements are based not on differences in reasoning, but in the values, assumptions, or information brought to bear. If we believe that all politicians are crooks, we will infer that a specific politician's actions are scurrilous. If we believe that politicians act for the good of all, we will look for some benefit in their actions. Either way, we will try to use reason to explain the actions. We will look for some coherent explanation as a way of making sense of things. As

we saw earlier, if we can understand why someone would do something, why someone might say something, why someone might act in a certain way, we feel we have made sense of the act or statement. It's like a murder trial: if we can put together opportunity, motive, and means, we can make a case. The more evidence we have before us, and the more carefully we reason, the more valid our inferences. This principle plays an important role with reading: the more evidence within a text we incorporate into our interpretation, the more likely we have not gone astray from any intended meaning.

Inferring Meaning Consider the following statement: The Senator admitted owning the gun that killed his wife. On the face of it, we have a simple statement about what someone said. Our understanding, however, includes much that is not stated. We find meaning embedded in the words and phrases. Unpacking that meaning, we can see that the Senator was married and his wife is now dead although this is not actually stated as such. (In fact, the sentence is about an admission of gun ownership.) It is as though the single sentence contains a number of assertions: y y y y y y There is a Senator. He owns a gun. He is married. His wife is dead. That gun caused her death. The Senator admitted owning that gun.

Clearly, the original sentence is a clearer and simpler way of conveying all of this information. Writers take note! On a more subtle level, we recognize that a public figure confronts involvement in a major crime. Our understanding need not stop there. We infer that the gun (or at least a bullet) has probably been recovered and identified as the murder weaponor the notion of an admission would make little sense. We also recognize the danger of unwarranted inferences. We recognize that we do not necessarily know if the Senator's admission is true. We do not really know whether the Senator is in any way responsible for his wife's death, nor do we know that she died of gun shot wounds (she could have been hit over the head with the gun). We do not even know if it was murderit might have been suicide or an accident. Are we reading things in here? Or are these meanings truly within the sentence? We are going beyond that the textsays, but not beyond what it actuallymeansto most readers. Inferences such as these are essential to both written and spoken communication. Writers often only hint at what they mean, and mean much more than they actually seem to say. On the other hand, we can see the danger (and temptation) of assuming facts or interpretations for which evidence is not present, and recognize that a critical reader reads with an open mind, open to many possible interpretations. The following story is often presented as a brain twister. In fact, its a reading exercise.

A man and his son are driving in a car. The car crashes into a tree, killing the father and seriously injuring his son. At the hospital, the boy needs to have surgery. Upon looking at the boy, the doctor says (telling the truth), "I cannot operate on him. He is my son." How can this be? Decide on your answer before reading further. Whether this passage is a brain twister or a reading passage, readers must assume that any lack of understanding is not due to the story, but due to their own lack of understanding. We must work harder to think about how the story might make sense. We quickly see that we have to explain how a doctor can have a son ("I cannot operate on him. He is my son.") when at the same time the father is dead (The car crashes into a tree, killing the father). The answer: The doctor is the boy's mother. Many readers are blinded to this meaning by the sexist assumption that the doctor must be a male.

Inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.[1] The conclusion drawn is also called an inference. The laws of valid inference are studied in the field of logic. Human inference (i.e. how humans draw conclusions) is traditionally studied within the field of cognitive psychology; artificial intelligence researchers develop automated inference systems to emulate human inference. Statistical inference allows for inference from quantitative data.

Contents
[hide]
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1 Accuracy of inductive inferences 2 Examples of deductive inference 3 Incorrect inference 4 Automatic logical inference o 4.1 Example using Prolog o 4.2 Use with the semantic web o 4.3 Bayesian statistics and probability logic [2] o 4.4 Nonmonotonic logic 5 See also 6 References

Accuracy of inductive inferences


The process by which a conclusion is inferred from multiple observations is called inductive reasoning. The conclusion may be correct or incorrect, or correct to within a certain degree of accuracy, or correct in certain situations. Conclusions inferred from multiple observations may be tested by additional observations.

Examples of deductive inference


Greek philosophers defined a number of syllogisms, correct three part inferences, that can be used as building blocks for more complex reasoning. We begin with the most famous of them all:
1. All men are mortal 2. Socrates is a man 3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

The reader can check that the premises and conclusion are true, but Logic is concerned with inference: does the truth of the conclusion follow from that of the premises? The validity of an inference depends on the form of the inference. That is, the word "valid" does not refer to the truth of the premises or the conclusion, but rather to the form of the inference. An inference can be valid even if the parts are false, and can be invalid even if the parts are true. But a valid form with true premises will always have a true conclusion. For example, consider the form of the following symbological track:
1. All apples are blue. 2. A banana is an apple. 3. Therefore, a banana is blue.

For the conclusion to be necessarily true, the premises need to be true. Now we turn to an invalid form.
1. All A are B. 2. C is a B. 3. Therefore, C is an A.

To show that this form is invalid, we demonstrate how it can lead from true premises to a false conclusion.
1. All apples are fruit. (True) 2. Bananas are fruit. (True) 3. Therefore, bananas are apples. (False)

A valid argument with false premises may lead to a false conclusion:


1. All fat people are Greek. 2. John Lennon was fat. 3. Therefore, John Lennon was Greek.

When a valid argument is used to derive a false conclusion from false premises, the inference is valid because it follows the form of a correct inference. A valid argument can also be used to derive a true conclusion from false premises:

In this case we have two false premises that imply a true conclusion.

Incorrect inference
An incorrect inference is known as a fallacy. Philosophers who study informal logic have compiled large lists of them, and cognitive psychologists have documented manybiases in human reasoning that favor incorrect reasoning.

Automatic logical inference


AI systems first provided automated logical inference and these were once extremely popular research topics, leading to industrial applications under the form of expert systems and later business rule engines. An inference system's job is to extend a knowledge base automatically. Theknowledge base (KB) is a set of propositions that represent what the system knows about the world. Several techniques can be used by that system to extend KB by means of valid inferences. An additional requirement is that the conclusions the system arrives at are relevant to its task.

E ample using Prolog


Prolog (for "Programming in Logic") is a programming language based on a subset of predicate calculus. Its main job is to check whether a certain proposition can be inferred from a KB (knowledge base) using an algorithm called backward chaining. Let us return to our Socrates syllogism. We enter into our Knowledge Base the following piece of code:
mortal(X) :- man(X). man(socrates).

( Here :- can be read as if. Generally, if P Q (if P then Q) then in Prolog we would code Q:-P (Q if P).) This states that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man. Now we can ask the Prolog system about Socrates:
?- mortal(socrates).

(where ?- signifies a query: Can mortal( ocrat ). be deduced from the KB using the rules) gives the answer " es". On the other hand, asking the Prolog system the following:
?- mortal(plato).

gives the answer "No".

1 2 3

All fat pe ple are mus c ans ohn Lennon was fat herefore ohn Lennon was a mus c an

This is because Prolog does not know anything about Plato, and hence defaults to any property about Plato being false (the so-called closed world assumption). Finally ?- mortal(X) (Is anything mortal) would result in "Yes" (and in some implementations: "Yes": X=socrates) Prolog can be used for vastly more complicated inference tasks. See the corresponding article for further examples.

Use wit t e semantic web


Recently automatic reasoners found in semantic web a new field of application. Being based upon first-order logic, knowledge expressed using one variant of OWL can be logically processed, i.e., inferences can be made upon it.

Bayesian statistics and probability logic


Philosophers and scientists who follow the Bayesian framework for inference use the mathematical rules of probability to find this best explanation. The Bayesian view has a number of desirable featuresone of them is that it embeds deductive (certain) logic as a subset (this prompts some writers to call Bayesian probability "probability logic", following E. T. Jaynes). Bayesians identify probabilities with degrees of beliefs, with certainly true propositions having probability 1, and certainly false propositions having probability 0. To say that "it's going to rain tomorrow" has a 0.9 probability is to say that you consider the possibility of rain tomorrow as extremely likely. Through the rules of probability, the probability of a conclusion and of alternatives can be calculated. The best explanation is most often identified with the most probable (see Bayesian decision theory). A central rule of Bayesian inference is Bayes' theorem, which gave its name to the field. See Bayesian inference for examples.

Nonmonotonic logic [2]


A relation of inference is monotonic if the addition of premises does not undermine previously reached conclusions; otherwise the relation is nonmonotonic. Deductive inference, is monotonic: if a conclusion is reached on the basis of a certain set of premises, then that conclusion still holds if more premises are added. By contrast, everyday reasoning is mostly nonmonotonic because it involves risk: we jump to conclusions from deductively insufficient premises. We know when it is worth or even necessary (e.g. in medical diagnosis) to take the risk. Yet we are also aware that such inference is defeasiblethat new information may undermine old conclusions. Various kinds of defeasible but remarkably successful inference have traditionally captured the attention of philosophers (theories of induction, Peirces theory of abduction, inference to the best explanation, etc.). More recently logicians have begun to approach the phenomenon from a formal point of view. The result is a large body of theories at the interface of philosophy, logic and artificial intelligence.

Today a couple of teachers and I worked with data from past state tests to determine instructional areas we could focus on to improve scores and enrich student learning. Inference was one area that cropped up as an area of weakness. Below, you will find several inference resources I discovered this evening as I researched strategies, tools, and resources that could be used to help students understand and develop inference skills. So w at is inference? Below, you will find several of my favorite definitions:
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Inference is a judgement based on reasoning rather than on direct or explicit statement. A conclusion based on facts or circumstances. For example, advised not to travel alone in temperatures exceeding fifty degrees below zero, the man in Jack London s To Build a Fire sets out anyway. (Dictionary of Literary Terms) Inference is a logical guess based on evidence based on evidence in the text. Inference involves making conclusions about a piece of literature when the connection is not provided in a piece of literature.

T e following resources may be elpful as you teac t e skill of inference


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Practice Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions good material to use with elementary students Brain Pop Jr. Make Inferences excellent information that includes a link to a great little (free) Brain Pop Jr. video Inference Riddles an interactive resource Teaching Tips: Inference a portal of additional links relating to Inference Teaching Inference, Interpretation and Analysis with New (and Old) Technologies Critical Thinking: Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions an excellent article adapted from the book, Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, by Richard Paul and Linda Elder Teaching Students to Make Inferences a Bright Hub! article written by Keren Perles

Grap ic Organizers t at can be used to elp students:


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Inference Notes (.pdf file) Text & Subtext: Drawing Inferences (.pdf file) Inference or Prediction? (.pdf file)

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Making Inferences

What is it?

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Making inferences is a reading strategy that helps you to understand more about a story or a reading text. Making inferences is sometimes called 'reading between the lines'. Writers expect you to use this strategy to get the most out of any piece of reading. So, to really understand a piece of reading you need to be like Inspector Gadget and be a first class detective!

Why make inferences? You make inferences when you need to find meaning or understand more about a story. It also is useful to help you draw conclusions, make predictions or reflect on what you have read.

What do you infer? You may need to make inferences on different types of reading such as stories, comics, poems and advertisements.

How to make inferences? Inference can be used in several ways to help you respond fully to a story or reading text. y You can infer a general fact or a precise piece of information. y You can infer emotions and feelings of characters in passage. y You can infer information about the author - his/her opinions, feelings, point of view. To infer successfully you can: y Work out answer from clues or references in the text. y Work out answer from the connotations of words used in text. y Match something in the text to your own understanding or experience or knowledge to come up with the correct answer.

y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y

Making Inferences Example Information about a story

Inference

They see an alligator in alake. Someone put the alligatorin the lake.

Making Inferences Practice This exercise will help you practise the skill of inferring Read the sentences. Choose the best answer that best completes the inference.

y y y y

1.

Oh, no! Whats wrong? Rajoo cries.

You can tell that he is a. sad b. worried

y y

2.

Right now I want to ride the bus home. Atikah says to her

friends.
y y y y y

Atikah wants to a. take her friends on a bus ride to her house. b. wants to go home.

3.

Finally, Suzy agrees to go on the roller coaster, but she doesnt

look happy. Suzy and Ameera get in line.


y y y

Suzy doesnt want to a. go on the roller coaster. b. be the first in line for the roller coaster.

Deductive Arguments and Inductive Arguments: How to Tell the Difference

Contents:
Inference: Drawing a Conclusion Two Types of Inference: Certain versus Probable Examples of the Two Types of Inference Deduction Are Invalid Arguments Inductive? Evaluating a Deductive Argument Induction Evaluating an Inductive Argument Some Misconceptions Are the Premises in an Inductive Argument Unrelated to the Conclusion? Can Inductive Arguments be Made Valid?

Inference: Drawing a Conclusion We make inferences all t e time. W en t e sky is full of dark gray clouds, we infer t at its going to rain and t at t e wind will be cold. W en its 5 p.m. on Friday we infer t at Route 10 will be jammed. W en t eres condensation on our car windows in t e morning we infer t at t e temperature dropped overnig t. T at is, we draw conclusions from t e conditions (evidence) we observe. Some inferences are well-supported by t e available evidence, even to t e point of being so customary t at we take t em for granted like w en we place a tray of water in t e freezer and infer (assume, really) t at in a few ours well ave ice, or w en we place a slice of bread in t e toaster and infer t at in a few moments well ave toast. Some inferences are poorly supported by t e available evidence, or are at least quite speculative like w en someone spends $100 on lottery tickets because t ey feel really lucky and infers t at t ey are going to win, or w en someone begins to notice c licking sounds w enever t ey use t eir telep one and infers t at t e CIA is spying on t em. Of course, well-supported inferences can sometimes turn out to be wrong, and poorly supported inferences can sometimes turn out to be rig t. Maybe t e CIA is spying on you. Maybe t e toaster as s orted out, and itll never toast anot er slice of bread.

Two Types of Inference: Certain versus Probable Before we get to questions about t e quality or accuracy or reliability of t e supporting evidence, owever, lets begin by distinguis ing between two broad types of inference. Some inferences are certain. T at is to say, t ese inferences are suc t at if t e supporting evidence is accurate, t e inference could not possibly go wrong. For instance, if I ave five apples, and I buy seven more apples, I now ave twelve apples, and I cant be wrong about t at, unless I miscounted t e first five apples, or miscounted t e additional purc ase of seven apples. As anot er example, if I note t at all doctors are umans and t at all umans are fallible, t en I cannot be wrong in t inking t at all doctors are fallible, unless some umans are infallible, or some doctors are not uman. On t e ot er and, some inferences are uncertain but probable. T e examples above involving our in ferences about t e c ances of rain or t e traffic at rus our are of t is sort. Very probably, if t e sky as been gray all day, it will rain, and very probably if its rus our t ere will be traffic. But w ile t ese inferences are quite probable indeed,

t eyre not certain. T e sky could be gray all day and yet it mig t not rain. It mig t be rus our, and yet t e roads could be relatively clear on a given day. T e inference about t e rain is generally more c ancy t an t e inference about t e traffic (t e first mig t be 60/40, w ereas t e second is more like 90/10), but bot are merely probable inferences; neit er is certain. If an inference is certain, t e probability of its being true w en its supporting evidence is true is 100%. If an inference is only probable, t en t e c ance of its being true w en its supporting evidence is true mig t be very ig even 99.999 percent but it will not be 100%, because t eres always a c ance, owever slim, t at we could be wrong. T e example above involving t e toaster is like t is. 99 times out of 100 times (or maybe even 99.999 out of 100 times), w en we put a slice of bread in t e toaster, it toasts. If, owever, t e toaster as s orted out, our next slice of bread will not toast, and wed be wrong in our belief t at it will.

Examples of t e Two Types of Inference T e range of inferences t at are certain is fairly small, and generally uninteresting, t oug t is is not always t e case. Consider t e following: T e person w o uses a tool is distinct from t e tool t ey use Our ands and arms are tools we can use to carry out certain tasks Our feet and legs are tools we can use to get us from place to place In fact, our entire body is a tool we use to interact wit t e world T erefore, we must be distinct from our bodies

T is inference is certain. If t e supporting evidence is accurate, t en t e inference (t e conclusion t e statement t ats being supported or defended) must be true. T e conclusion cannot be false w ile its supporting evidence is (all) true. Inferences t at are merely probable are muc more common, and are usually more interesting, because t ey involve subjects w ere t e evidence is less t an conclusive and t us w ere we dont know for sure (and maybe cant know for sure) w at is t e trut of t e matter. Consider t e following: Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine, and was a good marksman If Oswald s ot Kennedy from t e Texas Sc ool Book Depository building,

however, he would have been above, to the right of, and behind Kennedy The Zapruder film clearly shows Kennedys head jerking back and to the left when he is struck by the fatal shot (Probably) Oswald did not act alone, and Kennedy was killed as part of a conspiracy This inference is only probable because even if all of the supporting evidence is accurate, the conclusion might still be false. We just cant be certain that Kennedy was killed as part of a conspiracy, even if the fatal shot seems to suggest more than one gunman. It has been suggested that even a shot from behind and to the right co uld pull a persons head back and to the left, depending upon the force of the shot, and the reaction of the persons nervous system and muscles to being hit. The evidence, then, might not point to what it seems to point to, even if it seems really, really likely that its pointing to the truth.

Deduction Inferences that are certain, where the truth of the supporting evidence (the premises) guarantees the truth of what weve inferred (the conclusion), are called Deductive Inferences or Deductive Arguments. The relationship between the evidence or the grounds for the inference and the inference itself is such that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true. Of course, the premises might not actually be true, but even if theyre not, the relationship between the evidence and the inference is the same. The inference is Valid, even if the evidence is faulty. For instance, if we observe that:

All dolphins are fish and that No fish are mammals then we would be right to infer that No dolphins are mammals even though wed be wrong about the facts (its true that no fish are mammals, but its not true that dolphins are fish). Arguments or inferences that are certain or intended to be certain are Deductive Arguments or Inferences. The inference is Valid when it is certain and is Invalid when it is meant to be certain but is incomplete. For instance:

All politicians are dirty rotten liars. So, all politicians are dangerous. Clearly something is missing, but equally clearly the missing connection can be supplied if we were to add the missing (or implicit) premise All dirty rotten liars are dangerous. Before we added this premise, the argument was Invalid (because incomplete), but we can see that the (completed) inference was intended to be certain because we can see quite clearly how to complete it, and we treat the additional premise as missing (or implicit that is, implied) because its clear how the argument is supposed to go, inasmuch as its clear what is the intended relation between politicians being dirty rotten liars, and politicians being dangerous: namely, anyone in power whos a dirty rotten liar is going to be dangerous. Whether this conceptual relation actually holds (is actually true) is another thing; but the inference is both clear and certain. Are Invalid Arguments Inductive? No. It is for the above reasons that arguments that can be completed in this way are taken to be simply unsuccessful Deductive arguments, rather than Inductive arguments: the inference is not merely probable, but is certain once it is completed. Moreover, probable inferences generally cannot be made certain, as we shall see later on. If an inference is certain and we know that all of the supporting reasons or evidence (premises) are true, or if theyre obviously true, then the argument is Deductive, and Valid, and Sound. For instance: Water is a chemical compound Human beings drink water Human beings drink chemical compounds If an inference is Invalid (that is, Deductive but incomplete) it obviously cannot be Sound, since it is not (yet) Valid, and a Valid argument that has even one clearly false premise is Unsound. For instance: All reptiles are mammals All snakes are reptiles All snakes are mammals An inference can, however, be certain even when all the evidence is inaccurate:

All humans are reptiles All reptiles have hair All humans have hair Notice here that the inference is certain (if the evidence were accurate, the truth of the conclusion would be guaranteed), despite the fact that the evidence is not accurate. No humans are reptiles, and no reptiles have hair, but all humans have (at least some) hair. Thus, an inference can be certain, some (or all) of the premises can be false, and the conclusion can still be true.

Evaluating a Deductive Argument To evaluate and critique a Deductive Argument, then, we should begin by determining whether the argument is Valid. If its Invalid, the first thing we need to do is to figure out how to make it Valid, and thus to fill in any missing (or implicit) premises. We do this because we want to learn as much as we can from the argument, and fixing it up requires us to think through the evidence, to think through the relationship between the evidence and the conclusion, and to think over what we know about the issue the argument involves. Simply rejecting the argument as Invalid does not require us to do any of these things, and an opportunity to test our beliefs against the ones in the argument, and to improve our own beliefs, will be wasted. Once the argument is Valid (or if its already Valid), we identify which premises (pieces of evidence) seem to be correct, which seem to be incorrect, and which seem to be controversial or indeterminate. Obviously, we cant criticize the inference itself; if the arguments Valid, the inference is certain. So we must either criticize one or more of the premises or accept the conclusion. If the premises are true, so is the conclusion; if one or more of the premises is false, then the inference is unwarranted. If we cant find anything wrong with the premises but we still think the conclusion is false, then there must be something wrong with the evidence, and we ultimately need to figure out where the evidence goes wrong, or is misleading.

Induction Inferences that are merely probable are called Inductive Inferences or Inductive Arguments. As we already noted, the relationship between the evidence or the grounds for the inference and the inference itself is such that the conclusion might be false even if all the evidence is accurate. Of course, the premises might not be true, but even if they are, the relationship between the evidence and the inference is the same: the inference is

only probable, so there will be some chance that even if the evidence is accurate, the conclusion is nevertheless mistaken. For instance: The sun appears on the horizon in the East every morning, moves across the sky, and disappears below the Western horizon every evening. The Earth feels as though it is not in motion. Thus, the sun revolves around the Earth. From the standpoint of an observer standing on the surface of the Ear th, it certainly looks like the sun is moving and we are not. Indeed, even though we now believe that the Earth is moving through space and that the Earth revolves around the sun, we cannot feel the Earth moving, however hard we try. Heres another example: Sound generated at a distance is not perceived immediately, but is heard after its cause is observed. The transmission of sound is not instantaneous. Light generated at a distance, however great, is instantaneously perceived. The transmission of light is instantaneous. The transmission of light is, however, not instantaneous; light travels so fast (186,000 miles per second!) that its transmission looks instantaneous to us, just as it looks as though the sun is moving while were standing still. So her e we've got two inferences (conclusions) plausibly supported by accurate and circumstantially compelling observational evidence, both of which turned out to be mistaken. A probable inference is Strong when the premises are true and the truth of the conclusion is more probable than not (more than 50% likely to be true, but less than 100% likely) given the evidence. A probable inference is Weak when one or more of the premises is false, or when the conclusion is less probable than not (less than 50% likely to be true, but greater than 0% likely) given the evidence. Heres an example of a fairly unambiguously Strong Inductive argument: Those who smoke cigarettes or are exposed to second-hand smoke over a period of many years develop lung cancer at a rate that is statistically significantly higher than the rate among the general population Smoking causes lung cancer

Heres an example of a fairly unambiguously Weak Inductive argument: Louis Pasteur, who introduced the germ theory of disease, was ridiculed and ignored by other scientists and physicians Louis Pasteur was, however, a scientific genius, and was right about germs, but was ahead of his time Royal Raymond Rife, who proposed a germ theory of cancer, was ridiculed and ignored by other scientists and physicians Therefore, Royal Raymond Rife was a scientific genius, and was right about cancer, but was ahead of his time

Evaluating an Inductive Argument The only way we can evaluate an Inductive Argument or Inference is to consider the extent to which the evidence points to the conclusion given (or the extent to which it might just as well point to some other, even more likely conclusion), and to consider how strongly the evidence points to this conclusion, and how accurate the evid ence is. Thus, we have to be able to defend our view of the matter that is, we have to be able to back up the beliefs and attitudes that lead us to say that the evidence points strongly to the conclusion, or only points weakly to the conclusion.

Some Misconceptions The relationship between the evidence and the inference where the inference is certain is, of course, very strong in fact, its as strong as it can be (100% strong). Thus, there is a very close and obvious connection between what the evidence says and what the conclusion says. This connection is in some sense less tight and will obviously seem less inevitable in the case of inferences that are only probable. This is because the evidence is being used to suggest or recommend that the conclusion is true, rather than to guarantee its truth. But this doesn't mean that in an Inductive inference the conclusion does not follow from the premises. It might seem that if the evidence involved in an inference is accurate but the conclusion turns out to be false then the inference didn't really follow from the evidence in the first place. But this isn't so. To say that a conclusion follows is not to say that it will have to be true if the evidence is accurate; it means that the evidence provides support for it, regardless of whether that support is decisive or somewhat less than decisive. Are the Premises in an Inductive Argument Unrelated to the Conclusion? No.

The relationship between the premises and the conclusion of an Inductive Argument is less tight than the relationship in a Deductive Argument more of a suggestion than a guarantee but the premises and the conclusion are not unrelated. If they were not related at all, not even suggestively, then the inference wouldnt just be weak, itd be non-existent. Consider the following: There's no proof that souls don't exist Therefore, souls exist The inference here is not just poor; there is no inference. The premise and the conclusion are not meaningfully related to one another. This is a case where the premise(s) are unrelated to the conclusion. The premise here is not really evidence for the conclusion at all, at least not by itself, and it does not even point suggestively in the direction of the conclusion. (The fact that something has not been disp roven does nothing at all, not even by way of suggetion, to show that it's real.) This, then, is the difference between the premises being unrelated to the conclusion, and the premises being related to the conclusion suggestively, but not in such a way that its impossible to draw any other conclusion.

Can Inductive Arguments be Made Valid? No. Inductive Arguments cannot (generally) be made Valid, no matter how many further plausible premises we add. To make an Inductive Argument Valid we would almost always have to add a false or highly implausible premise and thus make the argument worse. Certain kinds of inferences are thus better understood as being probable than as being certain but with faulty evidence. This is because inferences which are only probable deal with situations and matters about which certainty is impossible or unavailable. To make an argument Valid is to make the inference certain, and if certainty is out of the question, then we cannot make the argument Valid, no matter how hard we try. Predictions illustrate this quite nicely: even if it looks really, really obvious that its going to rain tomorrow, it might not rain, contrary to all of our expectations and all of our best evidence. Generally speaking, theres just no way we can know for sure (with certainty) whats going to happen in the future, so inferences about the future generally wont be certain. There are some exceptions. I can know for certain that unless I make a mistake, I will never, no matter how many times I do it, get anything other than 12 when I add 7 and 5, even in future cases. Moreover, I know for certain that I am going to die (though I dont know when, thankfully). Most of the time, though, we cannot be certain of the future even when were pretty darn sure of whats going to happen. (In some sense, my belief that I will die someday isn't really a prediction at all but simply a specific instance of a general rule: everybody dies.) We have every reason to think that the moon will be visible in the sky tomorrow, but if an enormous asteroid comes along and obliterates the moon, it wont ever be visible again (except as debris), and we know that this could happen, even

though it seems really, really unlikely. The point here is that we cant be completely sure of whats going to happen, even in cases where we have little doubt, and this distinguishes cases where inferences are merely likely (even if theyre really, really likely) from cases where theres no chance at all of the inference going wrong.