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Unformatted text preview: Notes for Week 2 of Confirmation 09/05/07 Branden Fitelson 1 Administrative Remarks We have our roster set, and we should now be at a more manageable size. Also, I have changed the syllabus. Next week, we’ll read only Stroud on Hume. I got so much out of the Stroud readings this time around (the last time around was my first seminar in philosophy — boy what a difference 15 years makes!) that I decided to devote an entire week to them (we’ll be reading two chapters now — see section 3 below). After Stroud, we will read Keynes, Nicod, Hempel, Carnap, and Goodman, before moving on to cognitive science applications for the last two weeks. So, we will not do any subjective Bayesian confirmation theory per se (although, we’ll actually see a fair amount of it in the cognitive science part of the course anyhow). 2 Notes on Milton 2.1 Footnote #1 on Hume Footnote 1 of Milton’s paper (51) is crucial for us. There, Milton points out that the view of Hume as an inductive skeptic is a rather modern one. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mill, Whewell (and others) wrote extensively about induction, but they had little interest in Hume. Venn (1880’s) seems to be one of the first to adopt this “inductive” reading of Hume. Keynes ( A Treatise on Probability , page 272) is perhaps the first to assert that induction is Hume’s main target ( e.g. , in Enquiry Book IV). Popper has a similar take on Hume. As we will see next week, Stroud (a far subtler reader of Hume than Keynes or Popper) also sees induction as one of Hume’s main targets. The “old fashioned” reading of Hume (more as a skeptic about causation than induction) is championed by few in the 20th century (Kemp Smith being one of those few). Milton also points out that Hume only uses the word “induction” once in the entire Treatise , and not in the sections that are nowadays thought to be about induction. Of course, we shouldn’t put too much weight on that , since words like “induction” have been used in various odd ways historically ( e.g. , epagôgê was used by Plato to mean incantation, and by Boyle to mean reductio ad absurdum ). Stay tuned for much more next week on Hume. Stroud’s subtle reading of Hume’s writings will bring out their logical, epistemological, and psychological significance (see section 3, below for some pre-reading remarks on Stroud). 2.2 Aristotle Milton’s historical survey is quite interesting and useful (but also a bit perplexing in some ways). He starts §2 by noting that “inductive methods” appeared even in the old testament. But, his story really begins with Aristotle who — according to Milton — credits Socrates with “the introduction of inductive arguments”....
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at Berkeley.
- Fall '06