Imputation, implication and inference

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by bricklayer, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    There is an indispensable distinction, even when there's no difference, between what implied and what is inferred.

    Implications are necessary. Inferences are contingent. Implications are what they are. Inferences are not-necessarily what is implied.

    Inferring what is not implied is error. Imputing what is not inferred is to bear false witness.
    It is my experience that those who define an offense by what is inferred, rather than by what is implied, are also those most likely to impute to others that which they, themselves, did not infer from them.
     
  2. The Wyrd of Gawd

    The Wyrd of Gawd Well-Known Member

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    Who would have thought?
     
  3. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    I think there are different ways of offending someone with words. On one hand, you can imply some meaning in your words, and someone else could infer that meaning correctly and be offended.

    On the other hand, you can imply nothing at all, or imply something unrelated, and people can infer from your statement something which offends them.

    For instance, if Marie Antoinette says "Why don't the poor eat cake?", the poor are not offended due to some hidden meaning that Marie Antoinette baked into the phrase, they would be offended that she cares so little about her subjects that she doesn't know their plights. Or maybe rather, they'd be offended that she spoke so lightly about the issue which she knows kills them.

    I think those are inferring things which are not implied, but still not in error.
     
  4. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    I take no offense at error because error is honest. To keep things honest, the burden of proof should remain upon the offended. To place the burden of proof upon the accused leaves open the possibility that the offended may impute to another not only something that the other did not imply, but something which the offended did not them self infer.

    I think that we are seeing more and more of the above every day. Women are quite publicly claiming to have been offended by something that they infer that men implied, often of a sexual nature. I do not necessarily believe that the claimed offense was either implied or inferred. I am currently left to believe that there is an increasing amount of fake offense in our public discourse. We've moved from judging others by what they imply to what others infer. That has empowered those who claim offense in such a way as to precipitate false claims of offense.

    To infer what is not implied is error. To impute what was not inferred is to bear false witness.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  5. Jonsa

    Jonsa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Implication, Inference and Imputation is the basis of all human communication.

    Imputing fallacious inferences to the implications of another's words/actions is a feature of many of the most pivotal moments in our history.

    In partisan politics fallacious inference is a vital process in creating political spin.

    Inference "errors" and their resultant false imputations have killed billions of humans over the millennia.

    And to bring it down a few notches, my wife has imputed all kinds of dastardly deeds and motivations to me which she incorrectly inferred from my implied lame drunken excu...er, reason.

    fun with words.
     
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  6. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  7. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    It seems that the most common time that people lie is just after saying. "So, what you're saying is …".

    My wife and I have this thing we call a reality check. At any point, during any disagreement, either one of us can call for a reality check. If called upon, I must tell my wife her side of the disagreement in such a way that she agrees with my characterization of her side of it, and visa-versa. We figure that, if you can't tell someone their side of it, you have no grounds to disagree with them. If fact, you have no ability to disagree with them. All you can do is disagree with some figment of error or imagination.
    As our children grew up and wanted to argue, we set the same standard for them. They were able to be sure that we understood them, and we were able to be sure that they understood us. Now, all of our daughters and their husbands also employ reality checks.

    There are few things that hurt others as deeply as being misunderstood. There are even fewer things that hurt people as much as having a false witness bear against them, especially if they love the witness. Bearing false witness is enough, in and of itself, if left unchecked, to destroy a marriage.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  8. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    This doesn't really address my point.

    If someone says "Red is a color", I will infer that they are not British (because of the spelling of the word colour). This was probably not implied by them, but still correctly inferred by me. That doesn't seem erroneous to me (unless its a Brit who is spelling weirdly).
     
  9. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    I'm not quite sure what you're asking.

    People can take accurate inferences.
    People can take inaccurate inferences.
    People can imply things that are not inferred.
    People can infer things that are not implied.
    People can also lie about all of the above and impute to others things that they, themselves, did not actually infer. This thread is about those acts of bearing false witness.

    I hope that that covers it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  10. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    If someone writes "Red is a color" and I infer from the spelling that this person is not British, which category does that fit into, and do you think I drawn made an erroneous conclusion?
     
  11. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    That seems, to me, to be an example of implying something that is not inferred; it may, or may not, be erroneous. Such inferences are sometimes referred to as insights.
     
  12. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    I don't really care what you call it. The point is that one can be justified in criticising someone for something they didn't mean to say.

    When people complain about Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake", they weren't saying that there was something about being allowed to eat cake that was offensive, they were saying that it was evidence of something about the person which was offensive (the notion that she had so connection to the people to know that there was a famine going on).

    You claim that this is an error, I say that it is not (or at least, isn't necessarily an error). It could also be that there is some other resolution to the complaint, but that's not the same as saying that the type of complaint is categorically wrong.
     
  13. bricklayer

    bricklayer Well-Known Member Donor

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    I do not consider such an inference from Marie Antoinette to be an error; I consider it to be an insight.
    The same sort of social detachment has been attributed to many. Sometimes those attributions extend from what was implied. Sometimes those attributions extend from insights into other than what was implied, but often those attributions extend from the prejudices and suppositions of those attributing. Too often, what is attributed to others was not only not implied, it was not even inferred. That is what I refer to as bearing false witness.
     
  14. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    Well, you gave some examples of people inferring things which you thought was wrong. Isn't it possible that those weren't really inferrences but insights?
     

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