The problem of induction

Topics: Inductive reasoning, Logic, Reasoning Pages: 2 (685 words) Published: March 6, 2014
There are two assumptions that are made by induction; firstly that there is no unusual circumstance present and secondly the activity will result in the same experience, experienced in the past. However David Hume says there is a problem with induction as the future does not always have to follow the past. This is because induction is making use of causality but since we cannot see, touch or experience causality we cannot say it exists and this is David Hume’s argument. David Hume says that everything is a constant coincident and that our minds create a causal link because we become so accustomed to the two things happening together that we link the effect to the cause and the past to the future. David Hume further points out that the problem with induction is that there is no connection between the past and the future and thus drawing a general conclusion is not justified or rational. An example of this is of a pool player. The pool player knows if he hits the white ball in a certain way it will move in a certain direction i.e. if he hits the ball in the centre it will move off in a straight direction, he knows this from his past experience. However, if he hits the ball and it moves to the left it is not illogical. In order for a statement to be considered inductive, it must have one or several premises that lead to a conclusion. For instance, premises used to reach the conclusion “more people drink cow milk than goat milk” might include “grocery stores carry a higher volume of cow milk than goat milk,” or “there are more dairies that have cows than goats.” While these statements may not be able to conclusively prove that more people drink cow milk, they do make the truth of the statement more likely. If an inductive conclusion has a high degree of probability, it is called a strong argument; a conclusion with a low degree of probability is considered a weak argument.

Even a strong inductive argument can be open to flaws; bias,...
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