The Problem of Induction

John Foster

in The Divine Lawmaker

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199250592
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600913 | DOI:
 The Problem of Induction

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Induction is that form of inference by which we move from the premise that the world has been regular in a certain respect in the cases we have so far examined to the conclusion that it will continue to be regular in that respect in a certain unexamined case or a group of cases. This extrapolative form of inference is one on which we heavily rely both in the course of our everyday lives and in our scientific theorizing. The problem is that, on reflection, it is hard to see what, if anything, entitles us to think of such inferences as rational. The sceptic insists that they are not. Attempts to resist the sceptical challenge can take the form either of offering what purports to be a rational justification of induction or of insisting that induction is a basic form of sound reasoning that does not stand in need of justification.

Keywords: extrapolative; induction; inference; justification; problem; rational; regular; sceptic

Chapter.  7441 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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