What is induction? John Stuart Mill (1874, p. 208) defined induction as the operation of discovering and proving general propositions. William Whewell (in Butts, 1989, p. 266) agrees with Mill’s definition as far as it goes. Is Whewell therefore assenting to the standard concept of induction, which talks of inferring a generalization of the form “All As are Bs” from the premise that “All observed As are Bs”? Does Whewell agree, to use Mill’s example, that inferring “All humans are mortal” from the premise that “John, Peter and Paul, etc., are mortal” is an example of induction? The surprising answer is “no”. How can this be?
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