Essays on humes problem of induction

More Essay Examples on Logic Rubric For instance, one could conclude the sun will rise tomorrow morning based on the observation that it has risen every morning of our existence.

Essays on humes problem of induction

If, as Hume suspects, induction does not work, than how can anything be proved inductively -- let alone the theory of induction itself?

Hume’s Problem

The conclusion that induction is valid is only true if the premises that proceed it are true, and if one of those premises is that "induction is valid" we are still left unsure of the validity of the conclusion because that statement itself has not been proven. One might say that many instances of inductive reasoning had proven to be valid -- but these are only instances, and not evidences.

There are still infinitely more instances where induction might prove false and indeed, there have in the past been many instances where it has shown itself false in one way or another, as with the black swans, or the existence of red emeralds and theories of relativity.

Essays on humes problem of induction

So through its vicious circularity and through its failure to show conclusive evidence to the contrary, the inductive justification for induction is even less promising than attempts to show deductive justification. Since there cannot be evidence supporting induction, we cannot logically be justified in believing its conclusions.

Of course Hume himself admits that "none but a fool or madman will ever pretend to dispute the authority of experience. After all, generations of animals have operated according to inductive reasoning, which is why training technique can be used with them.

Does the dog learn to expect a reward for doing some trick or other because he has a logical reason to believe that past rewards predict future rewards -- or does he merely have faith in the constancy of his master? One could very well argue that following the practice of inductive reasoning, for a human, should be a similar process.

One should not pretend that this induction is logical or even reasonable, but understand that on the contrary it is merely a natural adaptive response to a difficult environment.

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If inductive reasoning is understood as faith, rather than as logic, it makes a great deal more sense. Modern man hesitates to say, "I believe the sun will rise tomorrow because I have faith in a solar deity" -- so instead he prefers to say that "I believe the sun will rise tomorrow because I have faith in the law of gravity and rotation of the earth and so forth.

In the responses of his critiques, who frequently argue for a "pragmatic" or even "best bet" sort of approach to induction, one is not infrequently reminded of the idea of Pascal's wager that it is better to believe in God and risk being wrong in which case nothing happens than to fail to believe in him and risk being wrong in which case on is punished eternally.

Likewise it is a better bet to believe in the law of gravity because it has always proved true in the past than to risk jumping off a cliff in hopes that one will start flying.


Which brings us around to those who have chimed in with their opposition or possible solution to this problem of induction. One possible response would be to deny that inductive support of induction is inherently viciously circular, and to say instead that it makes a certain kind of sense.

Another response would be to suggest that it does not matter whether or not induction can be logically proven, for it is equally valid even if it is illogical common sense. One such response that denied the vicious circularity of an inductive argument for induction was that of Laurence BonJour.

He proposed that while in cases where there is "no convergence on a limiting value" it is appropriate to reject the standard inductive conclusion.

However, he also suggests that in many cases there is such a convergence. The only explanations of an apparent convergence between cause and effective is chance or the existence of some value upon which the results can converge.An a priori justification of induction would make the problem go away, but I believe BonJour shows what the very underlying problem with the problem of induction is.

In this essay I have explained and assessed Hume’s Problem of Induction. Arguably Hume's most famous contribution to philosophy was the problem of induction. The problem of induction arises from Hume's belief that propositions fall into one of two categories, relations of ideas and matters of fact/5(4).

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A Treatise of Human Nature (Philosophical Classics) [David Hume] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imagination, emotion, morality. Hume presented the Problem of Induction in the middle of the 18th century, and Karl Popper gave a detailed response to it in the 20th century. The latest, probability-based broadening is the “no-free-lunch theorem for supervised learning” by Wolpert (Howson, 18).

This essay will focus on investigating Hume’s problem of induction alongside the responses it attracted. Also, it will highlight some of the suggested resolutions to the problem of initiativeblog.comion is based on looking at observable phenomena and then making conclusions.

Term Paper: Hume's Problem of Induction David … | 9 Pages