Authors
John Greco
Georgetown University
Abstract
According to a popular objection, Hume assumes that only deductive inferences can generate knowledge and reasonable belief, and so Hume’s skepticism can be avoided by simply recognizing the role of inductive inferences in empirical matters. This paper offers an interpretation of Hume’s skepticism that avoids this objection. The resulting skeptical argument is a powerful one in the following sense: it is not at all obvious where the argument goes wrong, and responding to the argument forces us to adopt a substantive and even surprising position regarding the nature of knowledge and evidence. The main strategy is to draw a three way distinction among kinds of inferential support. Thus inferences can be deductive-supportive, inductive-supportive, or non-supportive. Hume does not assume that inductive inferences cannot generate knowledge or reasonable belief. Rather, he makes the more plausible assumption that non-supportive inferences cannot
Keywords Hume
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1998_22
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