Compare And Contrast Hume's Riddle Of Induction

Decent Essays
PHI 111, spring 2017
Paper #2- Induction

Inductive inferences are judgments about the future- that the sun will rise tomorrow, that the hot stove will burn me, that the (properly functioning) airplane will stay aloft, that the piece of metal will expand if heated. Hume observes that such judgments are neither matters of fact nor relations of ideas and so concludes that they are not proper objects of knowledge- we cannot claim to know that the sun will rise tomorrow, that the stove will burn me, etc. We can’t even claim to know these things are probable; inductive judgments appear not to be justified at all! But we make them all the time in everyday life, and scientific practice seems to be based on them. How are we to make sense of our inductive practices? Hume suggests that the answer lies in our psychology, that regularities in experience give rise to habits of expectation. Popper and Goodman both argue that Hume’s solution is problematic, that we cannot explain our inductive practices simply by appealing to habits of thought. Popper goes on to conclude that what we take to be inductive practice is really just a method of conjectures and refutations and Goodman goes on to posit his new riddle of induction; what they have in common, though, is a concern about Hume’s psychological solution to the riddle of induction.
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What is the problem of induction? How does Hume attempt to (re)solve it? Does this solution work? In what ways do the criticisms threaten to undermine it? Are the criticisms successful? ? If not, where do they fall short? If so, how are we to make sense of our inductive
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