What if the principle of induction is normative? Means-ends epistemology and Hume's problem

I develop a critique of Hume’s infamous problem of induction based upon the idea that the principle of induction (PI) is a normative rather than descriptive claim. I argue that Hume’s problem is a false dilemma, since the PI might be neither a “relation of ideas” nor a “matter of fact” but rather what I call a contingent normative statement. In this case, the PI could be justified by a means-ends argument in which the link between means and end is established solely by deductive reasoning. The means-ends argument is an elementary result from formal learning theory that you must be willing to make inductive generalizations if you want to be logically reliable in the types of examples Hume described. This justification of the PI avoids both horns of Hume’s dilemma. Since no contradiction ensues from rejecting logical reliability as an aim, the PI is contingent. Yet since the proof concerning the PI and logical reliability is not based on inductive reasoning, there is no threat of circularity.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,566
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Does Hume's Argument Against Induction Rest on a Quantifier-Shift Fallacy?Samir Okasha - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (2):253–271.
On Not Changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson.Daniel Steel - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):285 - 291.
Waiting for Hume.Peter Lipton - 2005 - In Marina Frasca-Spada & P. J. E. Kail (eds.), Impressions of Hume. Oxford University Press. pp. 59.
Means-Ends Epistemology.O. Schulte - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):1-31.


Added to PP index

Total views
127 ( #54,327 of 2,325,888 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #416,543 of 2,325,888 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature