Whewell and the Reform of Inductive Philosophy

in Reforming Philosophy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780226767338
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226767352 | DOI:
Whewell and the Reform of Inductive Philosophy

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This chapter shows that Whewell and Jones were engaged from their early undergraduate days in what they believed to be their “mission,” namely, to “bring the people to the right way of viewing induction.” As they noted, everyone appealed to the “inductive method” as the proper way to conduct science, but very few understood correctly in what this method consisted. Whewell, with his friend's help, developed a view of induction that incorporated both empirical and rational elements of knowledge. Because of the rationalist aspect of Whewell's view, it has often been argued that his epistemology is essentially a British version of Kantianism. This chapter argues that this is not the case; there are important differences between Whewell's epistemology and Kant's. It addresses as well the claim that Whewell was strongly influenced by German romanticism as it was expressed in England in the work of Coleridge.

Keywords: inductive philosophy; William Whewell; Kantianism; knowledge; rationalism; romanticism

Chapter.  30609 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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