Date: 30 Jun 2011
Is the Humean defeated by induction?
- Benjamin T. H. Smart
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Many necessitarians about cause and law (Armstrong, What is a law of nature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983; Mumford, Laws in nature. Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Routledge, Abingdon, 2004; Bird, Nature’s metaphysics: Laws and properties. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007) have argued that Humeans are unable to justify their inductive inferences, as Humean laws are nothing but the sum of their instances. In this paper I argue against these necessitarian claims. I show that Armstrong is committed to the explanatory value of Humean laws (in the form of universally quantified statements), and that contra Armstrong, brute regularities often do have genuine explanatory value. I finish with a Humean attempt at a probabilistic justification of induction, but this fails due to its assumption that the proportionality syllogism is justified. Although this attempt fails, I nonetheless show that the Humean is at least as justified in reasoning inductively as Armstrong.
Armstrong, D. M. (1983). What is a law of nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRef
Bird, A. (2005). The ultimate argument against Armstrong’s contingent necessitation view of laws. Analysis, 65, 147–155.CrossRef
Bird, A. (2007). Nature’s metaphysics: Laws and properties. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Campbell, S., & Franklin, J. (2004). Randomness and the justification of induction. Synthese, 138, 79–99.CrossRef
de Finetti, B. (1964). Foresight: Its logical laws, its subjective sources. A translation by H. Kyburg of (Finetti 1937). In H. Kyburg & H. Smokler (Eds.), Studies in subjective probability. New York: Wiley.
Ellis, B. (2001). Scientific essentialism. Cambridge University Press.
Everitt, N. (1991). Strawson on laws and regularities. Analysis, 51(4), 206–208.
Giaquinto, M. (1987). Review of Stove 1986. Philosophy of Science, 54, 612–615.CrossRef
Goodman, N. (1983). Fact fiction and forecast. Harvard University Press.
Kelly, K., & Schulte, O. (1997). Church’s thesis and Hume’s problem. In M. L. Della Chiara et al. (Eds.), Logic and scientific methods (pp. 383–398). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Lewis, D. (1973). Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lewis, D. (1994). Humean supervenience debugged. Mind, 412, 273–490.
Lipton, P. (1991). Inference to the best explanation (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Mumford, S. (2004). Laws in nature. Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Abingdon: Routledge.
Stove, D. C. (1986). The rationality of induction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Vickers, J. (2006). The problem of induction. The Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induction-problem/.
Williams, D. (1947). The ground of induction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Is the Humean defeated by induction?
Volume 162, Issue 2 , pp 319-332
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Regularity theory
- Laws of nature
- Problem of induction
- Law of large numbers
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham, University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK