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 Inference is the act or process of deriving
a conclusion based solely on what one
already knows.
 Inference is studied within several
different fields.
 Human inference.
 Logic studies the laws of valid inference
The accuracy of inductive and
deductive inferences
 The conclusion inferred from multiple
observations is made by the process of inductive
reasoning. The conclusion may be correct or
incorrect, and may be tested by additional
observations. In contrast, the conclusion of a valid
deductive inference is true if the premises are
true. The conclusion is inferred using the process
of deductive reasoning. A valid deductive
inference is never false. This is because the
validity of a deductive inference is formal. The
inferred conclusion of a valid deductive inference
is necessarily true if the premises it is based on
are true.
Valid inferences

 Inferences are either valid or invalid, but not

both. Philosophical logic has attempted to define
the rules of proper inference, i.e. the formal rules
that, when correctly applied to true premises,
lead to true conclusions. Aristotle has given one
of the most famous statements of those rules in
his Organon
 Reasoning is the process of looking for reasons on
which to base one's beliefs or actions. In
philosophy, the study of reasoning typically
focuses on what makes reasoning good or bad,
appropriate or inappropriate. Philosophers do this
by either examining the form or structure of the
reasoning within arguments, or by considering
the broader methods used to reach particular
goals of reasoning, such as beliefs or actions.
Psychologists, in contrast, tend to study how
people actually reason, and how those methods
of reasoning help or hinder people.
Reasoning and forms of
 One approach to the study of reasoning is to
identify various forms of reasoning that may be
used to support or justify conclusions. The main
division between forms of reasoning that is made
in philosophy is between deductive reasoning and
inductive reasoning. Formal logic has been
described as 'the science of deduction' (Jeffrey,
1991, 1). The study of inductive reasoning is
generally called either 'informal logic' or 'critical
Deductive reasoning

 Deductive arguments are intended to have

reasoning that is valid. Reasoning in an
argument is valid if the argument's conclusion
must be true when the premises (the reasons
given to support that conclusion) are true. One
classic example of deductive reasoning is that
found in syllogisms like the following:
 All humans are mortal.
 Socrates is a human.
 Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
 Validity is a property of the reasoning in the
argument, not a property of the premises in the
argument or the argument as a whole. In fact, the
truth or falsity of the premises and the conclusion
is irrelevant to the validity of the reasoning in the
argument. The following argument, with a false
premise and a false conclusion, is also valid, (it
has the form of reasoning known as modus
 If green is a colour, then grass poisons cows.
 Green is a colour.
 So, grass poisons cows.
Inductive reasoning

 Inductive reasoning contrasts strongly with

deductive reasoning. Even in the best, or
strongest, cases of inductive reasoning, the truth
of the premises does not guarantee the truth of
the conlusion. Instead, the conclusion of an
inductive argument follows with some degree of
probability. Relatedly, the conclusion of an
inductive argument contains more information
than is already contained in the premises. Thus,
this method of reasoning is ampliative.
 A classical example of inductive reasoning comes
from the empiricist David Hume:
 The sun has risen in the east every morning up
until now.
 So, the sun will also rise in the east tomorrow.
Abductive reasoning

 However, as the conclusion in an abductive

argument does not follow with certainty from its
premises it is best thought of as a form of
inductive reasoning. What separates abduction
from the other forms of reasoning is an attempt
to favor one conclusion above others, by
attempting to falsify alternative explanations or
by demonstrating the likelihood of the favored
conclusion, given a set of more or less disputable
Fallacious reasoning

 Flawed reasoning in arguments is known as

fallacious reasoning. Reasoning within arguments
can be bad because it commits either a formal
fallacy or an informal fallacy.