Terminology Tuesday: Imply/Implication

Imply/Implication: There is an everyday sense of these words which means roughly, ‘suggests’ or ‘leads me to believe’, as when the detective says, ‘the evidence implies that Smith was present at the murder’. However, the word ‘imply’ is often used more strictly to mean ‘if … then …’ For example, if someone says, ‘the presence of fire implies that there must be oxygen present’, they could equally well say, ‘if there is fire then oxygen must be present’. In general, to say that ‘A implies B’ is to say something like ‘if A then B’, either strictly as in the oxygen example or more loosely as in the detective example. To say that ‘A entails B’ is usually to say ‘A implies B’ in this strict usage of ‘implies’.1

1. Alec Fisher, Critical Thinking: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 239-240.

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Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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