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The Problem Of Induction Essay

813 words - 4 pages

From the observed to the unobserved: David Hume The Problem of Induction.
According to Hume, this style of reasoning is logically valid. Logically valid inferences state that if the premises are true then the conclusions must be true. Or better yet, if you accept the premises, you must accept the conclusions. There is no way for the premises to be true and the conclusions to be false. However, this is not really the case because using a priori reasoning does not prove inductive inferences is logically valid. It is not the case that the premises can be true and the conclusions false, while maintaining the premises truth validity. This is one style of reasoning used in Hume’s fork with the other being experimental reasoning. The problem with experimental reasoning is that it is not logically valid. It is not logically valid because we have no reason to believe that the conclusions we attempt to make based on the empirical data bring us any closer to bridging the gap between the observed and the unobserved.

It was David Hume that brought forth the problem of induction. Due to his profound critique, philosophers have argued the subject of induction for centuries. Considering the fact that our experiences of the world cannot confirm or disprove general or universal claims, but only particular facts. For this reason, empiricism requires a method to change from knowledge of a specific group of objects, to knowledge of global and general connection. Such a procedure is called induction. However, the problem with induction is that logic cannot guarantee our inductions and assuming that something will happen because it has happened in the past is reasoning that lack of foundations. In this paper I will support Hume’s theory by describing the styles of inductive reasoning and causal generalization. Also, I will develop the skeptical solution that Hume determined to the problem.

The first style of reasoning is inductive generalization. It is a previous reasoning, implying knowledge obtained independent or prior to experience. We deduce that all the members of a specific class will be similar or the same to those we have observed. “We all believe that we have knowledge of facts extending far beyond those we directly perceive. (Perry, John, Michael Bratman, and John M. Fischer, p.217).” To illustrate, if we want to know if a particular sunflower is yellow we can take a look to that specific sunflower. However,...

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