Kathryn Schulz argues in “Evidence”, a chapter of her book called Being Wrong, that we need to “learn to actively combat our inductive biases: to deliberately seek out evidence that challenges our beliefs, and to take seriously such evidence when we come across it” (Schulz, 377”). By attending to counterevidence we can avoid making errors in our conclusions.
Induction is a form of reasoning where the premises support the conclusion, but do not confirm that the conclusion is true. To justify induction, we are required to justify that we can infer that experiences we have never experienced will resemble those that we have experienced. Making inductive inferences is necessary for everyday life as well as in science. It is rational to rely on inductive arguments in everyday life for claims such as “the sun will rise tomorrow.” But inductive arguments require that nature is uniform. For example, tomorrow the laws of physics will continue to work the same as how they have in the past, so the world will continue spinning and the sun will rise. This perceived uniformity (the principle of uniformity of nature) allows claims like the one previously outlined to be easily understood. Although inductive arguments are useful, whether or not they can be justified is a topic of debate. In James Van Cleve’s “Reliability, Justification and the Problem of Induction,” he uses an inductive argument to attempt to justify induction. In his justification he claims that his method of argument is not circular. I argue that his reasoning is problematic because an inductive argument is not able to justify induction, mainly because inductive arguments presuppose the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature.
What Came First: The Chicken or the Egg? David Hume moves through a logical progression of the ideas behind cause and effect. He critically analyzes the reasons behind those generally accepted ideas. Though the relation of cause and effect seems to be completely logical and based on common sense, he discusses our impressions and ideas and why they are believed. Hume’s progression, starting with his initial definition of cause, to his final conclusion in his doctrine on causality. As a result, it proves how Hume’s argument on causality follows the same path as his epistemology, with the two ideas complimenting each other so that it is rationally impossible to accept the epistemology and not accept his argument on causality. Hume starts by
The dominant work by Hume was his A Treatise of Human Nature, in this work he attempted to construct a "science of man" that contrasted with the ideas of Descartes and other enlightenment thinkers. The pillar of Hume's divergence was anchoring knowledge in empiricism rather than rationality. Hume argued that desire instead of rationality was the foundation of human nature. This essential departure from his peers is important to understanding the work of Hume. In this essay the contribution of Hume to knowledge creation would be briefly discussed and excerpts from A Treatise of Human Nature used to support the arguments made in his work.
Over the course of time, in the dominion of philosophy, there has been a constant debate involving two major concepts: free will and determinism. Are our paths in life pre-determined? Do we have the ability to make decisions by using our freedom of will? While heavily subjective questions that have been answered many different authors, philosophers, etc., two authors in particular have answered these questions very similarly. David Hume, a Scottish philosopher from the 18th century, argues in his essay “Of Liberty and Necessity” that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that they can both be accepted at the same time without being logically incorrect. Alike Hume, 20th century author Harry G. Frankfurt concludes in his essay “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility” that the two major concepts are compatible. These two authors are among the most famous of Compatibilists (hence the fact that they believe free will and determinism are compatible ideas) in philosophical history. The question that then arises in the realm of compatibilism particularly, is one dealing with moral responsibility: If our paths in life are not totally pre-determined, and we have the ability to make decisions willingly (using free will), then how do we deem an individual morally responsible for a given decision? Frankfurt reaches the conclusion that we are held morally responsible regardless of
While induction is only one of the five parts of the inductivist account of science, it is one of the most important steps. Induction is the process by which scientists make a leap of thought from observation to theory, and if induction has flaws, then the new theory must unquestionably contain flaws. Regardless of these errors, a scientist, according to an inductivist philosopher, will still accept a particular scientific theory if it can be validly induced from factual observation and experiment.
Have you ever wondered about the world beyond its original state? How we know that electricity produces a light bulb to light up or causes the sort of energy necessary to produce heat? But in the first place, what is electricity? Nor have we seen it and not we encountered it; however, we know what it can do, hence its effects. To help us better understand the notion of cause and effect, David Hume, an empiricist and skepticist philosopher, proposed the that there is no such thing as causation. In his theory, he explained the deliberate relationship between the cause and effect, and how the two factors are not interrelated. Think of it this way: sometimes we end up failing to light a match even though it was struck. The previous day, it lit up, but today it did not. Why? Hume’s theory regarding causation helps us comprehend matters of cause and effect, and how we encounter the effects in our daily lives, without the cause being necessary. According to Hume, since we never experience the cause of something, we cannot use inductive reasoning to conclude that one event causes another. In other words, causal necessity (the cause and effect being related in some way or another) seems to be subjective, as if it solely exists in our minds and not in the object itself.
Hume’s ultimate goal in his philosophic endeavors was to undermine abstruse Philosophy. By focusing on the aspect of reason, Hume shows there are limitations to philosophy. Since he did not know the limits, he proposed to use reason to the best of his ability, but when he came to a boundary, that was the limit. He conjectured that we must study reason to find out what is beyond the capability of reason.
In the 17th century Francis Bacon introduced induction as the new method for producing scientific theories. However inductive reasoning is riddled with problems that make it unsatisfactory for demarcating science. Hume’s problem of induction
The ultimate question that Hume seems to be seeking an answer to is that of why is that we believe what we believe. For most of us the answer is grounded in our own personal experiences and can in no way be justified by a common or worldly assumption. Our pasts, according to Hume, are reliant on some truths which we have justified according to reason, but in being a skeptic reason is hardly a solution for anything concerning our past, present or future. Our reasoning according to causality is slightly inhibited in that Hume suggests that it is not that we are not able to know anything about future events based on past experiences, but rather that we are just not rationally justified in believing those things that
I do not believe that my beliefs are threatened by Hume’s Problem of Induction. Hume’s Problem of Induction states that a universal law of cause and effect doesn’t exist and the reason alone is unable to discover the ultimate connection from finite sources. Whilst I agree with Hume that proof of knowledge is difficult to ascertain from a basis of a finite foundation, this does not necessarily impair my beliefs. As the ideology behind the Problem of Induction originated from Hume, as will the definition of a belief. Per Hume’s text, “A Treatise on Human Nature,” a belief exists as a lively idea associated with present perceptions. Further explained, an idea is a perception of the mind derived from thinking of something rather than first-hand experience, and a perception, as understood, is the content of the mind, of which, we are conscious of. By defining the terms as Hume would, supporting the foundations of my belief also targets the Problem of Induction.
Karl Popper was critical of inductive methods used in science. He argued that there is a chain of justifying arguments that could never be complete, therefore an original statement that is made can never receives the justification that it needs (Popper 505-506). He was a firm believer in the concept of falsification, emphasizing that we can never be sure that a theory is true but we can be sure that a theory is false. He continues to explain that all inductive evidence is limited: we do not observe the universe at all times and in all places. Popper identifies that no matter how many observations are made which confirm a theory there is always potential for future observations to refute the claim (Popper 426). For example, if millions of white swans were observed, using inductive reasoning, we could come up with a theory that all swans are white. However, no matter how many instances of white swans we may have observed, this information does not provide us with justification for the conclusion that all swans are white (Popper 426). Therefore induction cannot yield certainty. For scientists to continue to rely on inductive reasoning to
In the selection, ‘Skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding’, David Hume poses a problem for knowledge about the world. This question is related to the problem of induction. David Hume was one of the first who decided to analyze this problem. He starts the selection by providing his form of dividing the human knowledge, and later discusses reasoning and its dependence on experience. Hume states that people believe that the future will resemble the past, but we have no evidence to support this belief. In this paper, I will clarify the forms of knowledge and reasoning and examine Hume’s problem of induction, which is a challenge to Justified True Belief account because we lack a justification for our
Knowledge is gained only through experience, and experiences only exist in the mind as individual units of thought. This theory of knowledge belonged to David Hume, a Scottish philosopher. Hume was born on April 26, 1711, as his family’s second son. His father died when he was an infant and left his mother to care for him, his older brother, and his sister. David Hume passed through ordinary classes with great success, and found an early love for literature. He lived on his family’s estate, Ninewells, near Edinburgh. Throughout his life, literature consumed his thoughts, and his life is little more than his works. By the age of 40, David Hume had been employed twice and had failed at the family careers,
The following essay aims to discuss the inconsistencies between the inductivist and Popper’s points of view of science rationality of science in light of claims that the scientific method is inductive yet an inductive method is no. I think is rational to say that inductivist view of science has significant contradiction that Popper’s view solves. To support Popper’s view my argument will introduce the inductivist and falsificationsist views and I will focus in showing the issues of considered science as objective, scientific knowledge as proven and nature as uniform as well as the differences between inductivism and falsificationism to the creation of hypothesis.