intro to phil 10

intro to phil 10 - The Problem of Induction Skepticism So...

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The Problem of Induction
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Skepticism So far, we have been discussing a skepticism that strikes broadly at our perceptual beliefs about the external world. We’re now going to talk about a more limited kind of skepticism.
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Induction Vs. Deduction Recall the definition of a deductively valid argument: if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.
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Induction Vs. Deduction ‘Inductive arguments’ may denote a more or less or wide class of arguments, but generally they are taken to refer to any which is such though it is possible that the conclusion is false while the premises are true, the premises putatively give some kind of support to the conclusion.
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Induction Vs. Deduction We are particularly interested in a kind of inductive argument that moves from premises about things we have observed, to conclusions about things that we have not observed.
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Mathematical Induction Note that we are not talking about a mode of argument that you might find in mathematical proofs. In mathematical induction, we do something like this:
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Mathematical Induction 1. Prove that 0 has some interesting property. 2. Prove that for all natural numbers n , if n has that interesting property, then n+1 has that property too. 3. Conclude that all natural numbers have that interesting property.
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Mathematical Induction Mathematical induction is not our target here.
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Inductive Arguments Here are some examples:
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Inductive Arguments 1. All observed swans have been white. 2. Therefore, all swans are white.
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Inductive Arguments 1. Whenever I have been close to a fire, I have felt warmth. 2. Therefore, next time I am close to a fire, I will feel warmth.
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Inductive Arguments 1. Whenever I have let go of the ball, it has dropped. 2. The next time I let go of the ball, it will drop.
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How do the premises of these arguments support the conclusions? How do we justify induction?
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This note was uploaded on 10/19/2011 for the course PHIL 104 taught by Professor Bunzl during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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intro to phil 10 - The Problem of Induction Skepticism So...

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