Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 245-264

First online:

Similarity and Induction

  • Matthew WeberAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania Email author 
  • , Daniel OshersonAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania

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We advance a theory of inductive reasoning based on similarity, and test it on arguments involving mammal categories. To measure similarity, we quantified the overlap of neural activation in left Brodmann area 19 and the left ventral temporal cortex in response to pictures of different categories; the choice of of these regions is motivated by previous literature. The theory was tested against probability judgments for 40 arguments generated from 9 mammal categories and a common predicate. The results are interpreted in the context of Hume’s thesis relating similarity to inductive inference.