An Intuitive Solution to the Problem of Induction

Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 26 (2):205-232 (2022)
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Abstract

The subject of this essay is the classical problem of induction, which is sometimes attributed to David Hume and called “the Humean Problem of Induction.” Here, I examine a certain sort of Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem, which appeals to the concept of natural kinds in its response to the inductive skeptic. This position is most notably represented by Howard Sankey and Marc Lange. The purpose of this paper is partly destructive and partly constructive. I raise two questions. The first is: Are the natural kind solutions to the problem successful? The first thesis of this paper is that they are not, and I will show how and why they fail. And the second question I raise here is: Is there nonetheless some alternative Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem which is successful and can overcome the shortcomings endemic to the Sankey-Lange account? The second thesis is that there is, and I’ll attempt to sketch one. My stance here may be summarized by saying that, while I agree with Sankey and Lange that the problem of induction can be adequately resolved, and while I am on the whole sympathetic with the Aristotelian spirit of their account, I am, for all that, dissatisfied with the letter of them. Nothing short of a more thoroughgoing Aristotelianism about the epistemology of induction will do.

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Andrew Dennis Bassford
Creighton University

Citations of this work

Heraclitean Flux Metaphysics.Andrew Dennis Bassford - 2023 - Metaphysica: International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 24 (2):299-322.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Meditations on First Philosophy.René Descartes - 1984 [1641] - Ann Arbor: Caravan Books. Edited by Stanley Tweyman.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.

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