in·fer·ence /ˈɪnf(ə)rən(t)s, fɚ/
1. The act or process of inferring by deduction or induction.
Though it may chance to be right in the conclusions, it is yet unjust and mistaken in the method of inference. --Glanvill.
2. That which inferred; a truth or proposition drawn from another which is admitted or supposed to be true; a conclusion; a deduction.
These inferences, or conclusions, are the effects of reasoning, and the three propositions, taken all together, are called syllogism, or argument. --I. Watts.
Syn: -- Conclusion; deduction; consequence.
Usage: -- Inference, Conclusion. An inference is literally that which is brought in; and hence, a deduction or induction from premises, -- something which follows as certainly or probably true. A conclusion is stronger than an inference; it shuts us up to the result, and terminates inquiry. We infer what is particular or probable; we conclude what is certain. In a chain of reasoning we have many inferences, which lead to the ultimate conclusion. “An inference is a proposition which is perceived to be true, because of its connection with some known fact.” “When something is simply affirmed to be true, it is called a proposition; after it has been found to be true by several reasons or arguments, it is called a conclusion.” --I. Taylor.
n : the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a
logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence
and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct
observation [syn: illation]