Induction and Natural Necessities
Some philosophers who believe that there are necessary connections in nature take it that an advantage of their commitment is that the problem of induction is solved. This paper aims to offer a comprehensive refutation of the arguments necessitarians use to show that if natural necessities are posited, then there is no problem of induction. In section 2, two models of natural necessity are presented. The “Contingent Natural Necessity” section examines David Armstrong’s explanationist ‘solution’ to the problem of induction. The “Natural Necessity and IBE” section looks in detail into the claim that natural necessity is the best explanation of observed regularity. The “Dispositional Essentialism to the Rescue?” section moves on to Brian Ellis’s dispositional essentialist ‘solution’. The “Sankey’s Helping Hand” section examines Howard Sankey’s attempt to blend dispositional essentialism and explanationism.
KeywordsNatural necessity Induction Laws Inference to the best explanation Armstrong Ellis
Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the seminar of Science and Technology Studies Dept of UCL (London, November 2015); the Logos Group (Barcelona, January 2016) and as a keynote speech in the 2nd conference of the German Philosophy of Science Society (GWP) (Dusseldorf, March 2016). Many thanks are due to various members of the audience for generous and helpful comments. Sincere thanks too go to two anonymous readers of this journal.
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