Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 245–264

Similarity and Induction


DOI: 10.1007/s13164-009-0017-0

Cite this article as:
Weber, M. & Osherson, D. Rev.Phil.Psych. (2010) 1: 245. doi:10.1007/s13164-009-0017-0


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.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA