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Problem of justifying induction and Humes solution

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Introduction

In An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume states that all knowledge of the external world comes from perception and that reason depends on experience. Through observations, induction has worked in the past, but does not indicate that it will work in the future. For this reason, it is difficult for one to justify induction without using inductive reasoning. It seems the only way to justify the common inductive reasoning and similar inductive reasoning is through induction; hence, the justification is circular. This is often called the problem of induction. Hume provides a solution to this problem which at the end still seems to be problematic. I will begin by clarified the two forms of reasoning-inductive and deductive. I will then explicate Hume's claim on how all reasoning is based on experience. This will lead as to the problem of justifying induction. I will then present Hume's solution to the problem. It is through custom and habit that grounds the bases of all reasoning. I will then contend Hume's conclusion in justifying induction. If induction cannot be justify with reason, then induction lacks evidentiary value. Next, I will then attempt to solve the problem, using Garrett's claim, by understanding Hume's argument to be descriptive rather than normative. ...read more.

Middle

The question that may arise is, "how does one know the uniformity of nature is going to stay that way?" This indeed will lead us to the problem of induction. Hume does not state that induction is not justifiable but specifically it cannot be justified by reasoning. There are many inductive inferences that are considered to be good ones, including numerous scientific inferences. If one cannot justify something that it reflects the knowledge of our nature to use inductive reasoning. The problem is that it becomes a threat to human knowledge. One may justify induction with the future is similar to the past in the relevant senses or even the "it always has been the case" rule. One is using the same type of inductive reasoning to justify one type of inductive reason. This is not a strong argument and leads to an infinite regress. It shows that the belief of one is something that one cannot trust. The knowledge of one's beliefs become shakier than ever. One cannot predict from mere observe experience because the consistency is based on that experience. Future experience can differ from the past. The generalization is making a prior claim that the natural world is uniform instability to one's experience. ...read more.

Conclusion

The problem of description is not to show that our inferential practices are reliable, but simply be able to describe them as they stand (Lipton, 1998, p. 418). It is true that this will raise no general problem of infinite regress since justification is not the problem in description. "In practice, however, we usually have the opposite problem: we can not come up with even one description that would yield the patterns we observe (Lipton, 1998, p. 420)." Habit or Custom is the formation of Hume's idea of induction. It can help one to predict what one will do on the basis on what one has done in the past, but it will not tell what one is going to do in the future. Therefore, Hume's problem of induction is not close to being resolved. In An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume states that experience is where all knowledge of the external world comes. Reason depends on experience. Hume suggested that the uniformity of nature is what governs the principle of all our inductive inferences. If one can show the nature is indeed uniform, one can justified that the unobserved world is much like what one has already observed (Lipton, 1998, p. 416). The only way to do that is to use an inductive argument which leaves to an infinite regress. The problem of induction still exists, though many philosophers have attempted to resolve it. ...read more.

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