The Practical Rationality of Induction

The logical form of an inductive step figures as a deductive fallacy: concluding the antecedent from affirming a conditional and its consequent. In the sphere of practical rationality, however, where concerned with the presuppositions of action and the interactions between beliefs and desires, certain schemata have been proposed that express rational demands on agents who desire things to happen in the world. In this context, if agent A desires to φ and believes that ψ brings about φ, then, A is rationally expected to desire to ψ. But it is equally rational to expect that A’s desire to φ presupposes her belief that a certain state of affairs obtains where φ is a possibility. It then follows that assuming a desire to φ and a belief that ψ brings about φ, we can derive an logical form that approximates that of the above inductive step: the beliefs that φ is possible and that ψ brings about φ entail the belief that ψ is possible. It remains an open question whether this conclusion adequately supports the rationality of the exact inductive schema
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
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DOI wcp22200833562
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