3/23/2012 The Humean Problem of Induction The problem of induction as presented by David Hume is strong, and is a huge obstacle to positive scientific and philosophical enquiries. When understood fully, the argument seems to undermine any attempt at gaining knowledge, or avoiding radical skepticism, which would level any justification for belief…
I however, do not believe this response is an argument, and the problem of Induction maintains it’s force as a theoretically worry to serious philosophers. Furthermore Hume offers a solution to theoretical skepticism by distinguishing between the type of skepticism inquired about by philosophers, and the skepticism you should engage in in everyday life. In other words, Hume admits this problem is theoretically unanswerable, but practically speaking, is unlivable. By making this distinction, I believe that Hume makes the skeptical problem of induction less worrisome, while preserving its theoretical significance. Before going into any solutions Hume provides, we should first explain the basics of Hume’s argument from induction. The conclusion of Hume’s argument about the limitations of inductive reasoning, is that we have no basis to conclude that the future will resemble the past. The idea of cause and effect is not grounded in experience, because we cannot see cause and effect. For example, Hume points out that we cannot conclude that fire causes burns simply from putting our hand in the fire and noticing that it burns. We only are brought to believe this through repeated attempts, and a hypothesis that we should not try it in the future. Nor are our conclusions from experience based upon human understanding or reason, because that would rely on the false implicit assumption that nature always continues uniformly. That is, we cannot legitimately conclude that things in the past will continue to follow that path out of necessity. Hume comes to these conclusions through a complex explanation about how humans come to understand things through experience. A beginning point in Hume’s skepticism about empirical and inductive reasoning, is that forming any argument about experience relies on the assumption that the future will resemble the past. He states, “In reality, all arguments from experience are founded on the similarity which we discover among natural objects, and by which we are induced to expect effects similar to those which we have found to follow from such objects (Hume, 27). In other words, arguments from experience require that we assume what we have seen in the past will happen similarly in the future. However, this premise could never be proved deductively, because that would require believing any event is absolutely necessary, but it is always possible for things to happen otherwise. It also cannot be proved causally, because that would beg the question. In other words, such an argument would assume the existence of causality, which cannot be proved, because it is the very thing in question. Hume further points out that what we immediately learn from the senses does not always lead us to discover the true underlying properties of nature. For example, simply by observing and tasting bread, we do not arrive at the conclusion that bread nourishes. The only way we know bread nourishes, is by consuming it, and realizing that effect: Should it be said that, from a number of uniform experiments, we infer a connexion between the sensible qualities and the secret pow- ers; this, I must confess, seems the same difficulty, couched in different terms. The question still recurs, on what process of argument this infer- ence is founded?...It is ...
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Kant professes a secular and universal kind of morality while Hume's argument is highly subjective and could be very problematic in its applications. Hume has observed that it is our modern philosophers who define morality on pure reason and in contrast to that our ancient thinkers have considered “morals as deriving their existence from taste and sentiment”
What is the philosophy of science? The answer is actually simple. First, we must be aware of the fact that the various sciences make certain claims about the nature of the universe and human beings. In the process of making these claims, scientists use concepts such as cause and effect, theory, hypothesis, prediction, laws of nature, and so forth.
This implies that there is a difference between what appears in the memory of a human being to the ideas and thoughts conceived in the mind although with a certain measure of regularity and method, they introduce each other. Nature and reality is what causes situations to prevail.
The Problem of Induction
Induction is basically a process of reasoning in which an individual makes inferences from a more specific to the general. Arguments founded on induction ranges from extremely low to very high probabilities, but usually less than hundred percent.
In this relation David Hume appeared to be a rara avis and his explanation was different. According to Hume, all we know comes not from our reason but from our perceptions. The most important is not how we see this world, but how we feel it and what experience we get.
One of Hume’s masterpieces is his work, A Treatise of Human Nature which he did in 1739. In A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume says that "The identity, which we ascribe to the mind of man, is only a fictitious one...." What Hume Means By This Statement Particularly, Hume says, "The identity, which we ascribe to the mind of man, is only a fictitious one, and of a like kind with that which we ascribe to vegetables and animal bodies." Because of this, Hume continues that, “…It cannot, therefore, have a different origin, but must proceed from a like operation of the imagination upon like objects.”(Hume, 259) By this statement, Hume intended to mean that the idea of self does not emanate fr
For example, in philosophy, there are two contrastive schools of thought; while one gives premium to reason, the other gives premium to experience. The first school of thought that gives premium to reason is the rationalist school of thought. The
als should probably reply that the food that smells delicious like that has never poisoned him or her in the past so there are fewer chances of him or her being poisoned now. Such arguments are as being strong inductively. More so, the premises are known to be true.
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