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Hume, Deductive and Inductive arguments and the Problem of Induction Or why the future cannot be shown to be like the past.
Kinds of argument <ul><li>We use many kinds of argument in our reasoning processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Two of the most gene...
An example of deductive Argument <ul><li>Major Premise = All girls have long hair.  </li></ul><ul><li>Minor Premise = Roge...
Deductive argument examined <ul><li>The conclusion follows from the premises (premise = starting point). </li></ul><ul><li...
Inductive Argument <ul><li>Is the exact opposite of deductive argument. </li></ul><ul><li>The flow of argument is from par...
An example of inductive argument <ul><li>Imagine eating a Malteser.  </li></ul><ul><li>It’s chocolatey.  </li></ul><ul><li...
A summary of Induction <ul><li>Induction is simply the intellectual process of reasoning from particular evidence to a gen...
Why is induction important? <ul><li>Because if it is a valid form of argument, then  we can expect the future to be like t...
So: how does induction work? <ul><li>We use inductive argument all the time. </li></ul><ul><li>But what is the basis of th...
Hume’s attack on Induction: Q&A <ul><li>Q: “The question that I initially asked was: What is the nature of all our reasoni...
More Q&A:  <ul><li>Q: “what is the foundation of all our reasonings and inferences from experience?” </li></ul><ul><li>A: ...
Hume: his view of the consequences:  <ul><li>As soon as the suspicion is planted that the past is not a certain guide to t...
Summation <ul><li>The basis of inductive reasoning about experience is our experience of Cause and Effect. </li></ul><ul><...
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Hume on the Problem of Induction

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For AS Philosophy students - a key issue with knowledge derived from experience

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Transcript of "Hume on the Problem of Induction"

  1. 1. Hume, Deductive and Inductive arguments and the Problem of Induction Or why the future cannot be shown to be like the past.
  2. 2. Kinds of argument <ul><li>We use many kinds of argument in our reasoning processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Two of the most general and powerful kinds of argument are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deductive argument </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inductive argument </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Deductive argument is the process of obtaining conclusions that apply in particular circumstances from more general principles </li></ul>
  3. 3. An example of deductive Argument <ul><li>Major Premise = All girls have long hair. </li></ul><ul><li>Minor Premise = Roger is a girl. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion = Roger has long hair. </li></ul><ul><li>What problems might pertain to deduction? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Deductive argument examined <ul><li>The conclusion follows from the premises (premise = starting point). </li></ul><ul><li>So if the premises are true, the conclusion follows. </li></ul><ul><li>The flow of argument is from general theory to particular case. </li></ul><ul><li>Much of our reasoning is of this form. </li></ul><ul><li>But formulating exceptionless general cases is very difficult. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Inductive Argument <ul><li>Is the exact opposite of deductive argument. </li></ul><ul><li>The flow of argument is from particular evidence to general theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Again, a very common mode of argument. </li></ul><ul><li>The foundation of scientific reasoning and research. </li></ul><ul><li>Used to formulate general principles which we then use to make deductions from. </li></ul>
  6. 6. An example of inductive argument <ul><li>Imagine eating a Malteser. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s chocolatey. </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine eating another few Maltesers. </li></ul><ul><li>They are also chocolatey. </li></ul><ul><li>So all Maltesers are chocolatey – or, at least, the next one you eat will be. </li></ul><ul><li>That’s induction. Your experience has led to formulate a general conclusion. </li></ul>
  7. 7. A summary of Induction <ul><li>Induction is simply the intellectual process of reasoning from particular evidence to a general conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>The general pattern of inductive inference or induction is: I experience some Fs  In my experience, all Fs are G  In general, all Fs are G, or at least, the next F I consider will be G. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why is induction important? <ul><li>Because if it is a valid form of argument, then we can expect the future to be like the past . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can have science. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can have predictive certainty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can formulate new principles about the world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can generalise about our experience on a secure rational basis. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. So: how does induction work? <ul><li>We use inductive argument all the time. </li></ul><ul><li>But what is the basis of this use? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we be sure that induction is a valid kind of argument? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we justify inductive argument? </li></ul><ul><li>Hume argues that we cannot. He suggests that there is no rational case for induction being correct… </li></ul>
  10. 10. Hume’s attack on Induction: Q&A <ul><li>Q: “The question that I initially asked was: What is the nature of all our reasonings concerning matter of fact?” </li></ul><ul><li>A: “They are based on the relation of cause and effect.” </li></ul><ul><li>Q: “And what is the foundation of all our reasonings about cause and effect?” </li></ul><ul><li>A: “One word, experience.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. More Q&A: <ul><li>Q: “what is the foundation of all our reasonings and inferences from experience?” </li></ul><ul><li>A: “I have found that such and such an object has always had such and such an effect, which leads to the inference “From causes that appear similar we expect similar effects”. The future will be like the past. </li></ul><ul><li>Q: “But what is the chain of reasoning that allows this inference? However regular the course of things has been, that fact on its own doesn't prove that the future will also be regular.” </li></ul><ul><li>A: “No arguments from experience can support the resemblance of the past to the future, because all such arguments are based on the assumption of that resemblance.” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Hume: his view of the consequences: <ul><li>As soon as the suspicion is planted that the past is not a certain guide to the future, all experience becomes useless and can't rationally support any inference or conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In all reasonings from experience, then, there is a step taken by the mind (that the future resembles the past) which is not supported by any [rational] argument.  </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless, we take this step.  </li></ul><ul><li>There must therefore be some other principle (than rational or demonstrative argument).  </li></ul><ul><li>This principle is custom.... </li></ul>
  13. 13. Summation <ul><li>The basis of inductive reasoning about experience is our experience of Cause and Effect. </li></ul><ul><li>From similar causes we get similar effects: the Principle of Uniformity: </li></ul><ul><li>Yet: the basis for the Principle of Uniformity is simply an inductive argument: things were uniform before, so… </li></ul><ul><li>So rational arguments in support of induction assume what they set out to prove . </li></ul><ul><li>Hence there’s no rational basis for our use of inductive argument… </li></ul><ul><li>We are creatures of custom and habit, instead…don’t get above yourself, Mr Descartes… </li></ul>
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