Synthese 152 (3):321 - 338 (2006)

Louis Loeb
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Since the mid-1970s, scholars have recognized that the skeptical interpretation of Hume’s central argument about induction is problematic. The science of human nature presupposes that inductive inference is justified and there are endorsements of induction throughout Treatise Book I. The recent suggestion that I.iii.6 is confined to the psychology of inductive inference cannot account for the epistemic flavor of its claims that neither a genuine demonstration nor a non-question-begging inductive argument can establish the uniformity principle. For Hume, that inductive inference is justified is part of the data to be explained. Bad argument is therefore excluded as the cause of inductive inference; and there is no good argument to cause it. Does this reinstate the problem of induction, undermining Hume’s own assumption that induction is justified? It does so only if justification must derive from “reason”, from the availability of a cogent argument. Hume rejects this internalist thesis; induction’s favorable epistemic status derives from features of custom, the mechanism that generates inductive beliefs. Hume is attracted to this externalist posture because it provides a direct explanation of the epistemic achievements of children and non-human animals—creatures that must rely on custom unsupplemented by argument.
Keywords Hume  Induction  Reason  Externalism  Internalism  Garrett
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-9008-1
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References found in this work BETA

Objective Knowledge.Karl Raimund Popper - 1972 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
The Emergence of Probability.Ian Hacking - 1995 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Locke, Berkeley, Hume; Central Themes.Jonathan Bennett - 1971 - Oxford University Press UK.

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Citations of this work BETA

Hume's Positive Argument on Induction.Hsueh Qu - 2014 - Noûs 48 (4):595-625.
Humes Old and New: Four Fashionable Falsehoods, and One Unfashionable Truth.Peter Millican - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):163-199.
Humean Humility.Aisling Crean - 2010 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 13 (1):17-37.

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