philosophy paper - Joe Mitchell-Nelson PHI 101 Pinillos 28...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Joe Mitchell-Nelson PHI 101 Pinillos 28 November 2007 The Problem of Induction You work in the quality control department of an iPod factory. Your duty is to watch iPods roll by on a conveyor belt, and remove every mp3 player that has a visible defect--a scratch, a dent, a missing part, etc. However, in your entire 20-year stint with the Macintosh corporation, you have never seen a single damaged iPod, nor have any of your coworkers. One day you assume it's safe to desert your post and take a 15- minute smoke-break. Your boss catches you returning from your unauthorized absence, and has your pink slip ready in his hand. When you try to explain your reasoning to your boss--there have never been any defective iPods in the past, so you don't expect any in the future--he explains to you the fallacy of inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is, taken at its simplest, the inference that the unobserved will be similar to the observed--that the future will resemble the past, for example. To use David Hume's more rigorous definition: if experience has shown that an object has always been connected with such an effect, then one may infer that such an object will continue to be connected with such an effect, but there is no chain of reasoning to prove or even suggest this. Hume goes on to assert that inductive reasoning can never be justified because any attempt to do so invokes an inductive argument, and is by definition circular. For example, one may argue that the statistical principal known as the "law of
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
large numbers" states that if a coin is flipped, then the proportion of "heads," or of "tails" will be very close 50% after many, many flips. To use Hume's terminology, the object, in
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern