Hume, induction, and probability

Peter Millican
Oxford University
The overall aim of this thesis is to understand Hume’s famous argument concerning induction, and to appraise its success in establishing its conclusion. The thesis accordingly falls into two main parts, the first being concerned with analysis and interpretation of the argument itself, and the second with investigation of possible responses to it. Naturally the argument’s interpretation strongly constrains the range of possible replies, and indeed the results of Part I indicate that the only kind of strategy which stands much prospect of defeating Hume’s argument is one based on a priori probabilistic reasoning – hence the overwhelming majority of Part II is devoted to a thorough investigation of this approach.
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