Authors
Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne
Abstract
In The Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell presents a justification of induction based on a principle he refers to as “the principle of induction”. Owing to the ambiguity of the notion of probability, the principle of induction may be interpreted in two different ways. If interpreted in terms of the subjective interpretation of probability, the principle of induction may be known a priori to be true. But it is unclear how this should give us any confidence in our use of induction, since induction is applied to the external world outside our minds. If the principle is interpreted in light of the objective interpretation of induction, it cannot be known to be true a priori, since it applies to frequencies that occur in the world outside the mind, and these cannot be known without recourse to experience. Russell’s principle of induction therefore fails to provide a satisfactory justification of induction.
Keywords Bertrand Russell  Induction  Problem of induction  Justification of induction  Principle of induction
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