All that is given in experience is the regular

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experienced in sense impressions. All that is givenin experience is the regular succession of one kindof event followed by another. But the suppositionthat the earlier event, the so-called ‘cause’, mustbe followed by the succeeding event, the ‘effect’, ismerely human expectation projected onto reality.There is no justification for believing that there isany causal necessity in the ordering of events. Hume’s scepticism does not stop there, andhuman belief in causation is just a special case ofa more general psychological trait: inductivereasoning. Inductive reasoning is the process thatleads us to make generalisations from observinga number of similar cases. For example, havingobserved many white swans but no black swans,one might seemingly be justified in theconclusion that ‘All swans are white’. Equally,being aware that men often die, we conclude ‘Allmen are mortal’. But such generalisations gobeyond what is given in experience and are notlogically justified. After all, black swans werefound in Australia, and there is always thelogical possibility of coming across an immortalman. Hume claimed that inductive reasoningcould not be relied upon to lead us to the truth,for observing a regularity does not rule out thepossibility that next time something differentwill occur. Since all scientific laws are merelygeneralizations from inductive reasoning, thisso-called ‘problem of induction’ has been anurgent one for philosophers of science. Trying toshow how induction is justified has taxed themthroughout the 20th Century. Karl Popperisnotable for offering the most promising solutionto Humean scepticism.A618C90F-C2C6-4FD6-BDDB-9D35FE504CB3
Thomas Reid1710–1796Philosophy:100 Essential Thinkers86A618C90F-C2C6-4FD6-BDDB-9D35FE504CB3
Scottish philosopher who, like Kant,was inspired by the writings of hisfellow Scot, David Hume. Reidproduced two principal works,namely his Inquiry into the HumanMindand the laterEssays on the IntellectualPowers of Man.Reid felt that Hume’s sceptical conclusionswere inevitable but unacceptable. Consequently,and logically, the only move left open to him wasto object to the assumptions upon which Hume’sphilosophy was based. Principally, this amountedto rejecting the assumption, common toDescartes, Lockeand Berkeleyas well as Hume,that ideas in the mind are intermediaries betweenthe subject and the world. Rather, Reid espouseda form of direct perception in an attempt to denyHume’s conclusions and bring philosophy backto common-sense. Although he made original contributions inthis regard, Reid’s importance in philosophy hasgone down not so much for his own work but forhis masterful criticisms of Locke and Berkeley. In particular, his criticism of Locke’s criterion ofpersonal identity helped to bring out theimportance of this debate in philosophy (also seeLeibniz).

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Dr. Ather iqbal

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