Some remarks on the rationality of induction

Synthese 85 (1):95 - 114 (1990)
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Abstract

This paper begins with a rigorous critique of David Stove''s recent bookThe Rationality of Induction. In it, Stove produced four different proofs to refute Hume''s sceptical thesis about induction. I show that Stove''s attempts to vindicate induction are unsuccessful. Three of his proofs refute theses that are not the sceptical thesis about induction at all. Stove''s fourth proof, which uses the sampling principle to justify one particular inductive inference, makes crucial use of an unstated assumption regarding randomness. Once this assumption is made explicit, Hume''s thesis once more survives.The refutation of Stove''s fourth proof leads to some observations which relate Goodman''s grue paradox with randomness of a sample. I formulate a generalized version of Goodman''s grue paradox, and argue that whenever a sample, no matter how large, is drawn from a predetermined smaller interval of a population that is distributed over a larger interval, any conclusion drawn about the characteristics of the population based on the observed characteristics of the sample is fatally vulnerable to the generalized grue paradox.

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Bipin Indurkhya
Jagiellonian University

References found in this work

The logic of scientific discovery.Karl Raimund Popper - 1934 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Hutchinson Publishing Group.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1973 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 2003 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 2003 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
Ways of worldmaking.Nelson Goodman - 1978 - Hassocks [Eng.]: Harvester Press.

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