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To infer is to draw a conclusion. To infer that X is to conclude that X is true; an inference is the conclusion drawn from a set of facts or circumstances. Much of the study of logic explores the validity or invalidity of inferences and implications.

There is a difference between implying and inferring. An author who writes that all men are mortal and Socrates is a man implies that Socrates is mortal; a reader who is so subtle as to notice that the author implies that and to consciously think "Therefore Socrates is mortal" infers that Socrates is mortal.

In reading or interacting with others, inferences can be, and often are, made about parts of the text where the meaning is implied but not explicit. Assessments of the ability to make inferences about written text are used to measure reading skill or listening skill.

It is sometimes possible to make an inference that was not implied, and confusion over such asymmetries is often a source of conflict.

See also

Rule - RuleML - Expert system - Inference engine - Inference procedure - Reasoning