Inductive rules, background knowledge, and skepticism

Abstract

This essay defends the view that inductive reasoning involves following inductive rules against objections that inductive rules are undesirable because they ignore background knowledge and unnecessary because Bayesianism is not an inductive rule. I propose that inductive rules be understood as sets of functions from data to hypotheses that are intended as solutions to inductive problems. According to this proposal, background knowledge is important in the application of inductive rules and Bayesianism qualifies as an inductive rule. Finally, I consider a Bayesian formulation of inductive skepticism suggested by Lange. I argue that while there is no good Bayesian reason for judging this inductive skeptic irrational, the approach I advocate indicates a straightforward reason not to be an inductive skeptic.

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Laws and symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Betting on Theories.Patrick Maher - 1993 - Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
What Is This Thing Called Science?A. F. Chalmers - 1979 - Erkenntnis 14 (3):393-404.

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