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Unformatted text preview: Notes for Week 3 of Confirmation 09/12/07 Branden Fitelson 1 Chapter 3 of Strouds Hume : The Negative Phase 1.1 What kind of inductive skepticism are we talking about here? I want to begin by distinguishing three kinds of inductive skepticism that might be attributed to Hume. First, a bit of background set-up for the discussion. Let E be a statement summarizing some body of inductive evidence possessed by an (epistemic) agent . Typically, E will report something about the nature of a sample ( S ) from some population ( P ) that has been observed by , e.g. , all emeralds has observed so far have been green. Let H be some claim about unobserved objects from the population P , e.g. , the next emerald observes will be green. This example would be an epistemic singular predictive induction . But, we could also talk about an epistemic universal induction to a claim like ( H ? ) all emeralds are green. Inductive Support Skepticism (ISS) . According to inductive support skepticism (ISS), E cannot provide any degree of evidential support for H , for any epistemic agent (in any epistemic context C ). Inductive Justified Belief Skepticism (IJBS) . According to inductive justified belief skepticism (IJBS), no epistemic agent would be justified in believing H on the basis of E . [An evidentialist might gloss this by saying that E cannot provide sufficiently strong evidential support for H , so as to render s belief in H (on the basis of E ) justified. On such a reading, (ISS) is logically stronger than (IJBS).] Inductive Knowledge Skepticism (IKS) . According to inductive knowlddge skepticism (IKS), no epis- temic agent can ever know H on the basis of E . [Again, an evidentialist who requires evidential support both for justified belief and for knowledge would view (IKS) as the weakest of the three kinds of inductive skepticism. I will adopt an evidentialist stance, so as to order these in terms of strength .] 1.2 A Popular modern reading of Hume According to Stroud, a popular modern reading of Humes inductive skepticism traces its source to the invalidity of certain inductive arguments that may be said to underlie inductive inferences . Before getting to the popular vs Stroudian readings of Hume, I want to get one background issue out of the way. Strouds discussion is a bit awkward (from our perspective), since it seems to be mainly about (observed vs unob- served) events , rather than objects . For instance, Stroud presents the invalid arguments in question (those which Hume discusses in connection with of our idea of causality), schematically, as follows (on page 53): (PE) All events of type A (that have been observed so far) have been followed by events of type B ....
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- Fall '06