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Allen165

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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.
 

bertietheblue

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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.
 

Raymott

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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.
 

Abstract Idea

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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)


'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.
 
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Raymott

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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.
 
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Abstract Idea

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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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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.
 

bertietheblue

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'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
 

Raymott

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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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Re-opening thread as requested
 

Allen165

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Who requested that the thread be re-opened?
 

Abstract Idea

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Who requested that the thread be re-opened?

I did. For the following reason:

The other day I was reading a book which reminded me of this thread.
So I decided to share it with all of you:

"imply, infer: Both of these have to do with words not said aloud. A speaker implies something: a listener infers something."
(The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need - by Susan Thurman)

It is a simple little book and far from an authoritative one.
But it makes sense. Although this usage may already be clear for some of you, it was not clear to me. I guess it is a similar situation as that of the verbs borrow/lend. It is incredible how this piece of information was already implied in many of the posts/links above but I couldn't infer it.
 

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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.

Considering the posts above, the dictionaries definitions, the given usage notes, and particularly that little book of Susan Thurman, I reckon that, strictly speaking, the correct word in that passage should read inferred instead of implied.
 

5jj

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This will not help to clarify anything, but may reassure people who worry about this that they are not alone.

I still value and preserve the imply/infer difference, but have long had to accept that many others don't. When I hear or see these words used 'incorrectly' I just understand the speakers' or writers' intentions, not their words.

As regards inductive/deductive, I can never remember which is which. I take care not to use them unless I have had a chance to check up first.
 

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As regards inductive/deductive, I can never remember which is which. I take care not to use them unless I have had a chance to check up first.

Why don't you try some mnemonics?

Let us say when you induce someone to do something. Then you run a serious risk of making mistakes. So the process of induction is not so a reliable or trustful one.
By means of induction, you try to generalize from stuff you know to new horizons, in order to acquire new knowledge, but running risks.

On the other hand when you deduce something you are the one, because you strictly use logic rules of inference. No room left for mistakes.

Of course, as I stated in a earlier post, an exception must be granted for the rather technical mathematical induction which is strictly based on formal bases and, despite its name, is in fact a deductive process.


Back to the infer/imply issue, the bottom line for the mathematical inclined readers is the following:

If A implies B, then it is certainly the case that B is inferred from A, and vice versa. [ (A => B) <=> (B <= A) ]
 

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Back to the infer/imply issue, the bottom line for the mathematical inclined readers is the following:

If A implies B, then it is certainly the case that B is inferred from A, and vice versa. [No!] [ (A => B) <=> (B <= A) ]

I was hoping not to have to reappear in this dredged-up thread, since my temporary confusion over inductive and deductive inference was not helpful.

However, I must question your assertion that simple implication implies bi-equivalence. Perhaps you've just worded it strangely?
If A implies B, then B can be inferred from A, and not-A can be inferred from not-B. But a simple implication like this doesn't indicate the biconditional, that is, A cannot be inferred from B.
 

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I was hoping not to have to reappear in this dredged-up thread, since my temporary confusion over inductive and deductive inference was not helpful.

However, I must question your assertion that simple implication implies bi-equivalence. Perhaps you've just worded it strangely?
If A implies B, then B can be inferred from A, and not-A can be inferred from not-B. But a simple implication like this doesn't indicate the biconditional, that is, A cannot be inferred from B.

Your contributions are ALWAYS helpful Raymott, you may be sure about it - you are always more than welcome.
We are all learning all the time, that is what life is all about.

You are completely right, of course I didn't mean that "A implies B" is the same as "B implies A". What I meant with that 'vice versa' was that: as well as "A implies B" implies "B is inferred from A", it is also the case that "B is inferred from A" implies "A implies B". I know it sounds awkward in plain English, and after reading your last post I admit my initial attempt could have sounded ambiguous - that is the reason I wrote also the mathematical expression:

[(A => B) <=> ( B <= A) ] (this is correct and this is what I meant)
[(A => B) <=> ( A <= B) ] (this is wrong and this is what you thought I meant)
[(A => B) <=> (~B => ~A)] (this is also correct: not B implies not A)

Back to English, maybe I should have used a semicolon prior to and vice versa:
"If A implies B, then it is certainly the case that B is inferred from A; and vice versa."
 
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