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Critical Thinking, Requirement 4

What is the difference between an inference and a premise? (minimum 100 words)

The primary difference between an inference and a premise is that a premise is something used to offer support to a conclusion that has already been reached. The inference implies a conclusion from an observed phenomenon, and may or may not support the actual conclusion drawn. If I am standing in the rain but can see the sun set, I can infer that there is a rainbow behind me. I have come to a conclusion, but it may or may not be correct (it relies on implied knowledge that if you turn your back to the sun and stand in the rain, you're likely to see a rainbow). I can come to a similar conclusion with premises, but it will rely on different supports (i.e. the premise/conclusion of "under certain conditions, light refracts when the sunlight passes through drops of water, and if we know this then it brings us to the logical conclusion that, if the conditions are right, a rainbow will appear behind me.")

If the inference is true (i.e. the sun behind me in a rain storm usually creates a rainbow), we still must test to see if there actually is a rainbow in order to determine whether the conclusion is valid (i.e. there really is a rainbow).

If the premise is true (i.e. conditions are right), then the conclusion is true (i.e. there is a rainbow).


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