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314Lecture4-InductionResolutionOnline

314Lecture4-InductionResolutionOnline - LectureFour:...

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Lecture Four: Resolution of the Induction Problem Philosophers have responded to Hume’s skeptical challenge regarding the problem of induction in  many ways.  The responses come in three forms: (a) solutions, (b) denials that there can be a  solution, and (c) the belief that we don’t require a solution. (1) Induction is rational by definition There are two versions of this argument:   (a) The less sophisticated version is as follows: In everyday life people use the term ‘rational’  to describe not only deductive reasoning but also inductive reasoning.  It is just natural to  make inferences about the future based on what happened in the past.  How could we  survive otherwise? We can justify inductive reasoning by the fact that people do describe  this kind of reasoning as a rational activity.   Objection:  This argument describes where and when we use the term rational.  It is based  on the description of what occurs in everyday life.  But there is also another sense of  ‘rational’ which is normative or prescriptive.  When reasoning is rational, it meets some kind  of standard, something that leads us to truth.  It is a kind of reasoning that is prescribed  (that is, one ought to use it) because it is a justified way of thinking.  So just calling what  most of us do as rational (descriptive) doesn’t address the problem of its normative  character.  In the normative sense, inductive reasoning may not meet the criteria for being  rational. (b) We do not know how to justify inductive reasoning.  There is probably a flaw in Hume’s  argument, but no one has yet been able to pinpoint it.  So the task would be to articulate  the flaw and then to offer a positive account of induction, one that demonstrates inductive  reasoning is justified. (This is commonly known as the Moorean commonsense argument).  Kit Fine says: “In this age of post-Moorean modesty, many of us are inclined to doubt that  philosophy is in possession of arguments that might genuinely serve to undermine what we  ordinarily believe. It may perhaps be conceded that the arguments of the skeptic appear to  be utterly compelling; but the Mooreans among us will hold that the very plausibility of our  ordinary beliefs is reason enough for supposing that there  must  be something wrong in the  skeptic’s arguments, even if we are unable to say what it is.” (“The Question of Realism”,  2001) Objection:  The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t provide a justification for  induction.  It admits that’s Hume’s argument is a strong one, but they claim that there is  1
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