What If the Principle of Induction Is Normative? Formal Learning Theory and Hume’s Problem


Abstract
This article argues that a successful answer to Hume's problem of induction can be developed from a sub-genre of philosophy of science known as formal learning theory. One of the central concepts of formal learning theory is logical reliability: roughly, a method is logically reliable when it is assured of eventually settling on the truth for every sequence of data that is possible given what we know. I show that the principle of induction (PI) is necessary and sufficient for logical reliability in what I call simple enumerative induction. This answer to Hume's problem rests on interpreting PI as a normative claim justified by a non-empirical epistemic means-ends argument. In such an argument, a rule of inference is shown by mathematical or logical proof to promote a specified epistemic end. Since the proof concerning PI and logical reliability is not based on inductive reasoning, this argument avoids the circularity that Hume argued was inherent in any attempt to justify PI
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2011
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1080/02698595.2010.484544
Options
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: 43,999
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

Fact, Fiction and Forecast.NELSON GOODMAN - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin Goldman - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (1):185-190.
A Material Theory of Induction.John D. Norton - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Hume’s Theorem.Colin Howson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):339-346.
No Answer to Hume.Colin Howson - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):279 - 284.
On Not Changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson.Daniel Steel - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):285 - 291.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

No Answer to Hume.Colin Howson - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):279 - 284.
On Not Changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson.Daniel Steel - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):285 - 291.
A Material Theory of Induction.John D. Norton - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670.
Waiting for Hume.Peter Lipton - 2005 - In Marina Frasca-Spada & P. J. E. Kail (eds.), Impressions of Hume. Oxford University Press. pp. 59.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
133 ( #58,355 of 2,266,802 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #115,429 of 2,266,802 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature