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Inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true. The conclusion drawn is also called an idiomatic. 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.

Definition of inference 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. This definition is disputable (due to its lack of clarity.) Ref: Oxford English dictionary: "induction ... 3. Logic the inference of a general law from particular instances.") The definition given thus applies only when the "conclusion" is general. 1. A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning. 2. The process of reaching such a conclusion: "order, health, and by inference cleanliness".

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 symbolical track: 1. All fruits are sweet. 2. A banana is a fruit. 3. Therefore, a banana is sweet. 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. (Correct) 2. Bananas are fruit. (Correct) 3. Therefore, bananas are apples. (Wrong) A valid argument with false premises may lead to a false conclusion: 1. All tall people are Greek. 2. John Lennon was tall. 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 tall people are musicians 2. John Lennon was tall 3. Therefore, John Lennon was a musician In this case we have two false premises that imply a true conclusion.

Incorrect inference 3

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 favour 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. 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.

Inference rules

In logic, a rule of inference, inference rule, or transformation rule is the act of drawing a conclusion based on the form of premises interpreted as a function which takes premises, analyses their syntax, and returns a conclusion (or conclusions). For example, the rule of inference modus ponens takes two premises, one in the form of "If p then q" and another in the form of "p" and returns the conclusion "q". The rule is valid with respect to the semantics of classical logic (as well as the semantics of many other non-classical logics), in the sense that if the premises are true (under an interpretation) then so is the conclusion. Typically, a rule of inference preserves truth, a semantic property. In many-valued logic, it preserves a general designation. But a rule of inference's action is purely syntactic, and does not need to preserve any semantic property: any function from sets of formulae to formulae counts as a rule of inference. Usually only rules that are recursive are important; i.e. rules such that there is an effective procedure for determining whether any given formula is the conclusion of a given set of formulae according to the rule. An example of a rule that is not effective in this sense is the infinity -rule. Popular rules of inference include modus ponens, modus pollens from propositional logic and contraposition. First-order predicate logic uses rules of inference to deal with logical quantifiers.

In formal logic (and many related areas), rules of inference are usually given in the following standard form: Premise#1 Premise#2 ... Premise#n Conclusion This expression states, that whenever in the course of some logical derivation the given premises have been obtained, the specified conclusion can be taken for granted as well. The exact formal language that is used to describe both premises and conclusions depends on the actual context of the derivations. In a simple case, one may use logical formulae, such as in:

AB A B This is just the modus ponens rule of propositional logic. Rules of inference are usually formulated as rule schemata by the use of universal variables. In the rule (schema) above, A and B can be instantiated to any element of the universe (or sometimes, by convention, some restricted subset such as propositions) to form an infinite set of inference rules. A proof system is formed from a set of rules chained together to form proofs, or derivations. Any derivation has only one final conclusion, which is the statement proved or derived. If premises are left unsatisfied in the derivation, then the derivation is a proof of a hypothetical statement: "if the premises hold, then the conclusion holds."

In a set of rules, an inference rule could be redundant in the sense that it is admissible or derivable. A derivable rule is one whose conclusion can be derived from its premises using the other rules. An admissible rule is one whose conclusion holds whenever the premises hold. All derivable rules are admissible. To appreciate the difference, consider the following set of rules for defining the natural numbers (the judgment natural number): asserts the fact that is a

The first rule states that 0 is a natural number, and the second states that s(n) is a natural number if n is. In this proof system, the following rule demonstrating that the second successor of a natural number is also a natural number is derivable:

Its derivation is just the composition of two uses of the successor rule above. The following rule for asserting the existence of a predecessor for any nonzero number is merely admissible:

This is a true fact of natural numbers, as can be proven by induction. (To prove that this rule is admissible, assume a derivation of the premise and induct on it to produce a derivation of .) However, it is not derivable, because it depends on the structure of the derivation of the premise. Because of this, derivability is stable under additions to the proof system, whereas admissibility is not. To see the difference, suppose the following nonsense rule were added to the proof system:

In this new system, the double-successor rule is still derivable. However, the rule for finding the predecessor is no longer admissible, because there is no way to derive . The brittleness of admissibility comes from the way it is proved: since the proof can induct on the 7

structure of the derivations of the premises, extensions to the system add new cases to this proof, which may no longer hold. Admissible rules can be thought of as theorems of a proof system. For instance, in a sequent calculus where cut elimination holds, the cut rule is admissible. Inference rules may also be stated in this form: (1) some (perhaps zero) premises, (2) a turnstile symbol , which means "infers", "proves" or "concludes", (3) a conclusion. This usually embodies the relational (as opposed to functional) view of a rule of inference, where the turnstile stands for a deducibility relation holding between premises and conclusion. Rules of inference must be distinguished from axioms of a theory. In terms of semantics, axioms are valid assertions. Axioms are usually regarded as starting points for applying rules of inference and generating a set of conclusions. Or, in less technical terms: Rules are statements ABOUT the system; axioms are statements IN the system. For example:

you've proven p, then it is provable that p is provable. This holds in Peano arithmetic,

The Axiom

This does not hold in Peano arithmetic. Rules of inference play a vital role in the specification of logical calculi as they are considered in proof theory, such as the sequent calculus and natural deduction.

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