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    #1

    Imply

    A sentence from a law journal article:

    "Although the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality of the Union, it does grant the Union some treaty-making power, and some have argued that legal personality can already be implied from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action."

    I was taken aback when I read "implied." Isn't "inferred" what the author meant to say? Or can "imply" be used to mean "infer"?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    A sentence from a law journal article:

    "Although the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality of the Union, it does grant the Union some treaty-making power, and some have argued that legal personality can already be implied from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action."

    I was taken aback when I read "implied." Isn't "inferred" what the author meant to say? Or can "imply" be used to mean "infer"?

    Thanks.
    More often infer is used to mean imply (from OED: "over 20 per cent of citations for infer in the British National Corpus are erroneous for imply").

    Here 'inferred' is correct since you are making a deduction.

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    #3

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by bertietheblue View Post
    Here 'inferred' is correct since you are making a deduction.
    'Inferred' is correct since you're making an inference. If you were making a deduction, why not 'deduce'?
    However, if it's true that " the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality", then you must make an inference, which you do by induction, not deduction.

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    #4

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    A sentence from a law journal article:

    "Although the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality of the Union, it does grant the Union some treaty-making power, and some have argued that legal personality can already be implied from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action."

    I was taken aback when I read "implied." Isn't "inferred" what the author meant to say? Or can "imply" be used to mean "infer"?

    Thanks.
    Yes, "imply" can be used to mean "infer", as can be checked in some dictionaries. In the example above I believe that 'inferred', 'deduced' or 'deducted' could all be used for 'implied' - although 'implied' seems to be the best choice for me. But depending on the context, these two words 'imply ' and 'infer' may have a slightly different meaning:

    USAGE NOTE Infer is sometimes confused with imply, but the distinction is a useful one. When we say that a speaker or sentence implies something, we mean that it is conveyed or suggested without being stated outright: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a business tax increase, she implied (not inferred) that some taxes might be raised. Inference, on the other hand, is the activity performed by a reader or interpreter in drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a tax increase, we inferred that she had been consulting with some new financial advisers, since her old advisers were in favor of tax reductions.
    (extracted from infer: Definition, Synonyms from Answers.com)


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    'Inferred' is correct since you're making an inference. If you were making a deduction, why not 'deduce'?
    However, if it's true that " the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality", then you must make an inference, which you do by induction, not deduction.
    As far as I know, 'inference' is a deductive process, not an inductive one.
    See for instance:
    Inductive reasoning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    and
    Deductive reasoning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Naturally there is an exception for the 'mathematical induction' (Mathematical induction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) which rigorously speaking, despite its name, is a deductive process.
    Last edited by Abstract Idea; 13-Jun-2010 at 03:28.

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    #5

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    As far as I know, 'inference' is a deductive process, not an inductive one.
    See for instance:
    Inductive reasoning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    and
    This article mentions inference.

    Deductive reasoning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    There is no mention of inference or even 'infer' in this article.
    I'll concede this point, but these articles don't show it. They tend to confirm that inference is inductive.

    Inference - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The above reference probably proves your point better.
    (What a pity it wasn't bertie who proved me wrong)

    Having established that there are deductive inferences, and inductive inferences, it seems that this still means that "'inferred' is correct since you are making a deduction." is an incorrect statement.

    And I still think that the inference in the original text was inductive, not a deduction.
    Last edited by Raymott; 13-Jun-2010 at 04:05.

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    #6

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You might be right, but I don't see how these articles show that. They tend to confirm that inference is inductive.

    Inference - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The above reference probably establishes your point better.
    I reckon, by reading the articles above mentioned, that there are cases where the word 'inference' can also be used for 'inductive reasoning'. Particularly I don't like to use it this way, I prefer to reserve 'inference' only for 'deductive processes'.

    Back to the original sentence, I believe that there are two possible interpretations, that somewhat overlap a little bit.
    Namely:
    1) Some people have argued that the legal personality of the Union is a consequence from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action.
    2) Some people have argued that legal personality of the Union is already implicit in the Union's competencies and scope for independent action.
    In my opinion both interpretations above are 'deductive inferences'. In fact, despite the slight difference of the information being implicit, not explicit, technically they represent the very same inference.

    I can't see an induction here. In order to induce something here, you had to have a repetitive phenomena (or something similar) to work with. An 'inductive inference' has to be very carefully justified.

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    #7

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Back to the original sentence, I believe that there are two possible interpretations, that somewhat overlap a little bit.
    Namely:
    1) Some people have argued that the legal personality of the Union is a consequence from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action.
    2) Some people have argued that legal personality of the Union is already implicit in the Union's competencies and scope for independent action.
    In my opinion both interpretations above are 'deductive inferences'. In fact, despite the slight difference of the information being implicit, not explicit, technically they represent the very same inference.

    I can't see an induction here. In order to induce something here, you had to have a repetitive phenomena (or something similar) to work with. An 'inductive inference' has to be very carefully justified.
    Aren't you applying the argument to the interpretation of that passage - whether the passage is interpreted inductively or deductively?

    I was referring to the inferences of those who "have argued that legal personality can already be inferred from the Union's competencies and scope for independent action."
    If the Union's competencies and scope for independent action are repetitive and cumulative, those competencies and action might induce the inference that the Union is a legal personality.

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    #8

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    'Inferred' is correct since you're making an inference. If you were making a deduction, why not 'deduce'?
    However, if it's true that " the TEU does not include an express provision on the legal personality", then you must make an inference, which you do by induction, not deduction.
    I'll stick to the guns of the Oxford English Dictionary on this:

    "infer - to deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reason rather than from explicit statements

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    #9

    Re: Imply


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    #10

    Re: Imply

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Yes, it says "most people no longer distinguish between them".
    But, from your questions, you seem to want the right answer - not the one that merely satisfies the majority. Your guess would generally be as good as that of most native speakers.

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