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Problem_of_Induction_slides - The Problem of Induction...

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The Problem of Induction
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Inductive Inference An inductive (scientific) inference can be represented as follows: Empirical evidence/data Paradigm -------------------- Hypothesis
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More than data are needed In an inductive argument, you need more than mere data (observations) in order to reach a probable conclusion. You need some “paradigm”, i.e. background knowledge, or initial framework, to cut down the possibilities. Otherwise the number of possibilities is basically infinite. For example, Kepler assumed that the orbit of Mars would be some kind of simple curve, such as a conic section.
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Hume’s inductive scepticism The Scottish Philosopher David Hume (1711- 1776) was the first person to argue for this clearly. Hume’s noted that it’s the cause-effect relation that connects what we observe, with what our theories talk about. For example, we can’t see the structure of the heavens. But that structure causes the planets to appear as they do, from our perspective. Most scientific (inductive) reasoning is reasoning from effect to cause.
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Hume’s inductive scepticism A less common kind of inductive reasoning is from cause to effect. In any case, when moving from matters we’ve observed (data) to matters that we have not observed (hypothesis) we use the cause-effect relation. All reasonings concerning matters of fact seem to be founded on the relation of Cause and Effect , which is the only relation that can take us beyond the evidence of our memory and senses.”
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How do we know what causes what? If Hume is right (and he is) that all inductive reasoning is based on cause and effect (reasoning mostly from effects to causes), then we have to ask how we get knowledge of this relation. How do we know what causes what? Hume’s answer is “by experience”. The mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause, by the most accurate scrutiny and examination. For the effect is totally different from the cause, and consequently can never be discovered in it .”
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I venture to assert, as true without exception, that knowledge about causes is never acquired through a priori reasoning, and always comes from our experience of finding that particular objects are constantly associated with one other. Present an object to a man whose skill and intelligence are as great as you like; if the object is of a kind that is entirely new to him, no amount of studying of its perceptible qualities will enable him to discover any of its causes or effects. Adam, even if his reasoning abilities were perfect from the start, couldn’t have inferred from the fluidity and transparency of water that it could drown him, or from the light and warmth of fire that it could burn him.”
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“Events that aren’t much like the common course of nature are also readily agreed to be known only by experience; and nobody thinks that the
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Problem_of_Induction_slides - The Problem of Induction...

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