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Summary The problem of induction arises due to our apparent inability to justify our use of inductive inference in a non-circular manner.  The inductive skeptic takes the view that it is impossible to justify beliefs arrived at on the basis of inductive inference.  A wide variety of attempts have been made to resolve the problem of induction, usually by proposing justifications of induction.  Attempted justifications of induction include pragmatic, inductive and analytic justifications, as well as Popper's suggestion that the problem of induction may be bypassed since the rational acceptance of theory does not require use of inductive inference.
Key works For the pragmatic justification of induction, see Reichenbach 1938 and Rescher 1973.  A recent version of the inductive justification may be found in Papineau 1992.  The classic source for the analytic justification is Strawson 1952.  Nelson Goodman attempts to shift the ground by replacing the problem of induction with the so-called new riddle of induction Goodman 1954.  For Karl Popper's approach, see Popper 1962.  A naturalistic attempt to justify induction may be found in Kornblith 1993. An important recent approach is John Norton's material theory of induction Norton 2003.
Introductions Salmon 1966; Skyrms 1966, Skyrms 1966 and more recent editions; Vickers 2008.
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233 found
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  1. added 2019-01-23
    Fixing a Hole in the Ground of Induction.S. Campbell - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):553 – 563.
  2. added 2019-01-23
    The Hole in the Ground of Induction.Patrick Maher - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (3):423 – 432.
  3. added 2019-01-05
    Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment (Nicholas Maxwell) (Review). [REVIEW]William Peden - 2018 - Metapsychology Online Reviews 22 (44).
    Nicholas Maxwell is not afraid of big ideas. As the title suggests, this book covers several sweeping topics: aside from those in the title, Maxwell discusses the methodology of social science, interdisciplinarity, quantum mechanics, and more besides. Given the 325-page word-length, this scope inevitably means that the ideas and arguments are frequently underdeveloped. However, despite this proportion of pages to topics, Maxwell's book is clear, accessible, and (most importantly) thought-provoking.
  4. added 2018-12-17
    The Principle of Indifference and Inductive Scepticism.Robert Smithson - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv029.
    Many theorists have proposed that we can use the principle of indifference to defeat the inductive sceptic. But any such theorist must confront the objection that different ways of applying the principle of indifference lead to incompatible probability assignments. Huemer ([2009]) offers the explanatory priority proviso as a strategy for overcoming this objection. With this proposal, Huemer claims that we can defend induction in a way that is not question-begging against the sceptic. But in this article, I argue that the (...)
  5. added 2018-12-15
    Reichenbach, Russell and the Metaphysics of Induction.Michael Shaffer - forthcoming - Argumenta.
    Hans Reichenbach’s pragmatic treatment of the problem of induction in his later works on inductive inference was, and still is, of great interest. However, it has been dismissed as a pseudo-solution and it has been regarded as problematically obscure. This is, in large part, due to the difficulty in understanding exactly what Reichenbach’s solution is supposed to amount to, especially as it appears to offer no response to the inductive skeptic. For entirely different reasons, the significance of Bertrand Russell’s classic (...)
  6. added 2018-12-06
    Discussion: Can the Best-Alternative-Justification Solve Hume's Problem? On the Limits of a Promising New Approach.Eckhart Arnold - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (4):584-593.
    In a recent Philosophy of Science article Gerhard Schurz proposes meta-inductivistic prediction strategies as a new approach to Hume's. This comment examines the limitations of Schurz's approach. It can be proven that the meta-inductivist approach does not work any more if the meta-inductivists have to face an infinite number of alternative predictors. With his limitation it remains doubtful whether the meta-inductivist can provide a full solution to the problem of induction.
  7. added 2018-11-28
    Goodman E o Equilíbrio Reflexivo.Eros Moreira Carvalho - 2013 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 58 (3):467-481.
    Goodman sustentou que o ajuste mútuo entre inferências indutivas particulares e princípios indutivos constitui a única justificação necessária para ambos. Porém, a sua caracterização desse ajuste, posteriormente denominado de “equilíbrio reflexivo”, foi superficial. Isso levantou dúvida sobre a sua adequação. Neste artigo, argumento que o equilíbrio reflexivo, corretamente caracterizado, fornece a única justificação necessária e a melhor que podemos dar para a prática indutiva.
  8. added 2018-11-12
    A Statistical Learning Approach to a Problem of Induction.Kino Zhao - manuscript
    At its strongest, Hume's problem of induction denies the existence of any well justified assumptionless inductive inference rule. At the weakest, it challenges our ability to articulate and apply good inductive inference rules. This paper examines an analysis that is closer to the latter camp. It reviews one answer to this problem drawn from the VC theorem in statistical learning theory and argues for its inadequacy. In particular, I show that it cannot be computed, in general, whether we are in (...)
  9. added 2018-09-21
    Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science.Howard Sankey - 2008 - Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
  10. added 2018-09-16
    Inductive Justification and Discovery. On Hans Reichenbach’s Foundation of the Autonomy of the Philosophy of Science.Gregor Schiemann - 2005 - In Schickore J. & Steinle F. (eds.), Revisiting Discovery and Justification. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 23-39.
    I would like to assume that Reichenbach's distinction of Justification and Discovery lives on, and to seek arguments in his texts that would justify their relevance in this field. The persuasive force of these arguments transcends the contingent circumstances apart from which their genesis and local transmission cannot be made understandable. I shall begin by characterizing the context distinction as employed by Reichenbach in "Experience and Prediction" to differentiate between epistemology and science (1). Following Thomas Nickles and Kevin T. Kelly, (...)
  11. added 2018-09-04
    On the Justification of Deduction and Induction.Franz Huber - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (3):507-534.
    The thesis of this paper is that we can justify induction deductively relative to one end, and deduction inductively relative to a different end. I will begin by presenting a contemporary variant of Hume ’s argument for the thesis that we cannot justify the principle of induction. Then I will criticize the responses the resulting problem of induction has received by Carnap and Goodman, as well as praise Reichenbach ’s approach. Some of these authors compare induction to deduction. Haack compares (...)
  12. added 2018-07-20
    Induction and Natural Kinds.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 1 (2):239-254.
    The paper sketches an ontological solution to an epistemological problem in the philosophy of science. Taking the work of Hilary Kornblith and Brian Ellis as a point of departure, it presents a realist solution to the Humean problem of induction, which is based on a scientific essentialist interpretation of the principle of the uniformity of nature. More specifically, it is argued that use of inductive inference in science is rationally justified because of the existence of real, natural kinds of things, (...)
  13. added 2018-06-19
    Induction and Natural Kinds Revisited.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    In ‘Induction and Natural Kinds’, I proposed a solution to the problem of induction according to which our use of inductive inference is reliable because it is grounded in the natural kind structure of the world. When we infer that unobserved members of a kind will have the same properties as observed members of the kind, we are right because all members of the kind possess the same essential properties. The claim that the existence of natural kinds is what grounds (...)
  14. added 2018-06-15
    The Principle of Indifference and Inductive Scepticism.Robert Smithson - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):253-272.
    Many theorists have proposed that we can use the principle of indifference to defeat the inductive sceptic. But any such theorist must confront the objection that different ways of applying the principle of indifference lead to incompatible probability assignments. Huemer offers the explanatory priority proviso as a strategy for overcoming this objection. With this proposal, Huemer claims that we can defend induction in a way that is not question-begging against the sceptic. But in this article, I argue that the opposite (...)
  15. added 2018-02-17
    Watkins and the Pragmatic Problem of Induction.Greg Bamford - 1989 - Analysis 49 (4):203-205.
    Watkins proposes a neo-Popperian solution to the pragmatic problem of induction. He asserts that evidence can be used non-inductively to prefer the principle that corroboration is more successful over all human history than that, say, counter-corroboration is more successful either over this same period or in the future. Watkins's argument for rejecting the first counter-corroborationist alternative is beside the point. However, as whatever is the best strategy over all human history is irrelevant to the pragmatic problem of induction since we (...)
  16. added 2017-08-30
    Grounding Reichenbach’s Pragmatic Vindication of Induction.Michael J. Shaffer - 2017 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):43-55.
    This paper has three interdependent aims. The first is to make Reichenbach’s views on induction and probabilities clearer, especially as they pertain to his pragmatic justification of induction. The second aim is to show how his view of pragmatic justification arises out of his commitment to extensional empiricism and moots the possibility of a non-pragmatic justification of induction. Finally, and most importantly, a formal decision-theoretic account of Reichenbach’s pragmatic justification is offered in terms both of the minimax principle and the (...)
  17. added 2017-04-10
    Are Inductions Warranted?L. Jonathan Cohen - 1989 - Analysis 49 (1):1 - 4.
    Claims to have solved the problem of induction are always stimulating, and especially so when the claim is put forward with the wit and sparkle of Professor Mellor's inaugural lecture The Warrant of Induction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). Unfortunately, however, Mellor's proposed solution is inadequate to its task.
  18. added 2017-03-02
    Explaining Our Moral Reliability.Sinan Dogramaci - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):71-86.
    I critically examine an evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism. The key premise of the argument is that there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability. I search for the strongest version of the argument; this involves exploring how ‘adequate explanation’ could be understood such that the key premise comes out true. Finally, I give a reductio: in the sense in which there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability, there is equally no adequate explanation of our inductive (...)
  19. added 2017-02-09
    On Not Changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson.Daniel Steel - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):285 - 291.
    Howson's critique of my essay on Hume's problem of induction levels two main charges. First, Howson claims that I have attributed to him an error that he never made, and in fact which he warned against in the very text that I cite. Secondly, Howson argues that my proposed solution to Hume's problem is flawed on technical and philosophical grounds. In response to the first charge, I explain how Howson's text justifies attributing to him the claim that the principle of (...)
  20. added 2017-01-26
    Hume’s Theorem.Colin Howson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):339-346.
    A common criticism of Hume’s famous anti-induction argument is that it is vitiated because it fails to foreclose the possibility of an authentically probabilistic justification of induction. I argue that this claim is false, and that on the contrary, the probability calculus itself, in the form of an elementary consequence that I call Hume’s Theorem, fully endorses Hume’s argument. Various objections, including the often-made claim that Hume is defeated by de Finetti’s exchangeability results, are considered and rejected.
  21. added 2017-01-26
    10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW]Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
  22. added 2017-01-25
    Justifying Induction Mathematically: Strategies and Functions.Alexander Paseau - 2008 - Logique Et Analyse 51 (203):263.
    If the total state of the universe is encodable by a real number, Hardin and Taylor have proved that there is a solution to one version of the problem of induction, or at least a solution to a closely related epistemological problem. Is this philosophical application of the Hardin-Taylor result modest enough? I advance grounds for doubt.
  23. added 2017-01-23
    The Ground of Induction.Bernard J. F. Lonergan - 1947 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 22 (4):740-741.
  24. added 2017-01-22
    No Answer to Hume.Colin Howson - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):279 - 284.
    In a recent article in this journal, Daniel Steel charges me with committing a fallacy in my discussion of inductive rules. I show that the charge is false, and that Steel's own attempt to validate enumerative induction in terms of formal learning theory is itself fallacious. I go on to argue that, contra Steel, formal learning theory is in principle incapable of answering Hume's famous claim that any attempt to justify induction will beg the question.
  25. added 2017-01-22
    Against Induction and Empiricism.W. I. Matson - 1961 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 62:143 - 158.
  26. added 2017-01-21
    The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton’s Material Theory of Induction.Daniel Steel - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1):188-197.
  27. added 2017-01-21
    How I Almost Solved the Problem of Induction.John Watkins - 1995 - Philosophy 70 (273):429 - 435.
    At the seventh international congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, held at Salzburg in 1983, I was talking with John Searle when I glanced at my watch and exclaimed, I must run. I'm due to solve the problem of induction at 2.15. ‘Yes,’ he replied, I must go too; I'm due to solve the mind-body problem. I don't know how seriously he meant his remark, but I did actually believe that I had cracked this old problem in the (...)
  28. added 2017-01-21
    Hegel and the Humean Problem of Induction.W. A. Suchting - 1990 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 21 (3):493-510.
  29. added 2017-01-19
    Humean Naturalism and the Problem of Induction.Francis W. Dauer - 2000 - Ratio 13 (2):123–137.
  30. added 2017-01-19
    An 'Analytic' Vindication of Induction.Grover Maxwell - 1961 - Philosophical Studies 12 (3):43 - 45.
  31. added 2017-01-19
    Donald Williams' Theory of Induction.Frederick L. Will - 1948 - Philosophical Review 57 (3):231-247.
  32. added 2017-01-18
    Stove, Induction and the Irish.Ian Hinckfuss - 1977 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):64 – 68.
  33. added 2017-01-18
    On the Vindication of Induction.Herbert Feigl - 1961 - Philosophy of Science 28 (2):212-216.
  34. added 2017-01-18
    Concerning Mr. Feigl's "Vindication" of Induction.Daniel Kading - 1960 - Philosophy of Science 27 (4):405-407.
  35. added 2017-01-17
    4. Bosanquet, Idealism, and the Justification of Induction.Phillip Ferreira - 2005 - In William Sweet (ed.), Bernard Bosanquet and the Legacy of British Idealism. University of Toronto Press. pp. 90-110.
  36. added 2017-01-17
    Review of Donald Williams' The Ground of Induction. [REVIEW]Frederick L. Will - 1948 - Philosophical Review 57 (1):98.
  37. added 2017-01-16
    The Metaphysical Requirement for Models of Prediction and Explanationist Approaches to the Problem of Induction.Jaeho Lee - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (3):225-242.
    David Armstrong once argued that to solve the problem of induction with inference to the best explanation we need an anti-Humean conception of law. Some Humeans have argued that this argument begs the question against Humeanism. In this paper, I propose a new argument for the same conclusion which is not vulnerable to this criticism. In particular, I argue that explanationist approaches to the problem of induction that are combined with Humeanism is internally incoherent.
  38. added 2017-01-16
    VIII—Against Induction and Empiricism.W. I. Matson - 1962 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 62 (1):143-158.
  39. added 2017-01-15
    The Justification of Induction.M. A. Cunningham - 1940 - Analysis 7 (1):20-24.
  40. added 2016-12-08
    A Problem for Hume's Theory of Induction.Ruth Weintraub - 2008 - Hume Studies 34 (2):169-187.
    According to Hume, the paradigm type of inductive reasoning, or—to use his terminology 1—"the inference we draw from cause to effect", involves a constant conjunction. "We remember to have had frequent instances of the existence of one species of objects; and also remember, that the individuals of another species of objects have always attended them.... Thus we remember to have seen that species of object we call flame, and to have felt that species of sensation we call heat. We likewise (...)
  41. added 2016-12-08
    Inductive Incompleteness.Matthias Hild - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (1):109-135.
    Nelson Goodman cast the ‘problem of induction’ as the task of articulating the principles and standards by which to distinguish valid from invalid inductive inferences. This paper explores some logical bounds on the ability of a rational reasoner to accomplish this task. By a simple argument, either an inductive inference method cannot admit its own fallibility, or there exists some non-inferable hypothesis whose non-inferability the method cannot infer (violating the principle of ‘negative introspection’). The paper discusses some implications of this (...)
  42. added 2016-12-08
    Econometric Inference and The Old Problem Of Induction.Ana Marostica - 2000 - Semiotics:386-409.
  43. added 2016-12-08
    Thomas Reid and the Justification of Induction.Peter Anstey - 1995 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 12 (1):77-93.
  44. added 2016-12-08
    Reliability, Justification, and the Problem of Induction.Cleve James Van - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):555-567.
  45. added 2016-12-08
    Induction Justified (But Just Barely).Ralph W. Clark - 1983 - Philosophy 58 (226):481 - 488.
    Hume's sceptical arguments regarding induction have not yet been successfully answered. However, I shall not in this paper discuss the important attempts to answer Hume since that would be too lengthy a task. On the supposition that Hume's sceptical arguments have not been met, the empirical world is a place where, as the popular metaphor goes, all the glue has been removed. For the Humean sceptic, the only empirical knowledge that we can have is given to us in immediate perception. (...)
  46. added 2016-10-21
    Natural Properties, Necessary Connections, and the Problem of Induction.Tyler Hildebrand - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:668-689.
    The necessitarian solution to the problem of induction involves two claims: first, that necessary connections are justified by an inference to the best explanation; second, that the best theory of necessary connections entails the timeless uniformity of nature. In this paper, I defend the second claim. My arguments are based on considerations from the metaphysics of laws, properties, and fundamentality.
  47. added 2016-09-29
    A Comprehensive Theory of Induction and Abstraction, Part I.Cael L. Hasse - manuscript
    I present a solution to the epistemological or characterisation problem of induction. In part I, Bayesian Confirmation Theory (BCT) is discussed as a good contender for such a solution but with a fundamental explanatory gap (along with other well discussed problems); useful assigned probabilities like priors require substantive degrees of belief about the world. I assert that one does not have such substantive information about the world. Consequently, an explanation is needed for how one can be licensed to act as (...)
  48. added 2016-07-19
    Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism.Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - St. Paul, USA: Paragon House.
    "Understanding Scientific Progress constitutes a potentially enormous and revolutionary advancement in philosophy of science. It deserves to be read and studied by everyone with any interest in or connection with physics or the theory of science. Maxwell cites the work of Hume, Kant, J.S. Mill, Ludwig Bolzmann, Pierre Duhem, Einstein, Henri Poincaré, C.S. Peirce, Whitehead, Russell, Carnap, A.J. Ayer, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend, Nelson Goodman, Bas van Fraassen, and numerous others. He lauds Popper for advancing beyond (...)
  49. added 2016-06-27
    Formal Learning Theory in Context.Daniel Osherson - manuscript
    One version of the problem of induction is how to justify hypotheses in the face of data. Why advance hypothesis A rather than B — or in a probabilistic context, why attach greater probability to A than B? If the data arrive as a stream of observations (distributed through time) then the problem is to justify the associated stream of hypotheses. Several perspectives on this problem have been developed including Bayesianism (Howson and Urbach, 1993) and belief-updating (Hansson, 1999). These are (...)
  50. added 2016-06-04
    The Problem of the Problem of Induction.Roger White - 2015 - Episteme 12 (2):275-290.
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