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Critical Thinking:

Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions

In order to critically think, one must distinguish between Inferences and assumptions. Though both words appear to be quite similar, these two words allow the reader to formulate an opinion of their own. The awareness of our inferences based on our assumptions would help one to become open-minded.

This article talks about two of the elements of reasoning: inference and assumptions and discusses further how these two are interrelated in critical thinking. Inferences are a step of the mind, an intellectual act, by which one concludes that something is true in light of something else's being true, or seeming to be true. Assumptions, on the other, are something we take for granted or presuppose. They are usually something we previously learned and do not question. (Browne 1)

Assumptions and inferences permeate our lives precisely because we cannot act without them. We make judgment, form interpretations, and come to conclusions based on the beliefs we have formed. People automatically make inferences to gain a basis for understanding and action. We listen to what people say and make a series of inferences as to what they mean. Many of our inferences are justified and reasonable, but some are not. Inferences we make are heavily influenced by our point of view and the assumptions we have made about people and situations. (Browne 1)

Apparently, different people make different inferences because they bring to situations different point of view. To put in another way, they make different assumptions about what they see. They make hundreds of assumptions without knowing it, without thinking about it. Many assumptions are sound and justifiable. Many, however, are not.

We all make assumptions as we go about our daily life and we ought to be able to recognize and questions them. The important part of critical thinking is...

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