A material theory of induction

Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670 (2003)
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Abstract

Contrary to formal theories of induction, I argue that there are no universal inductive inference schemas. The inductive inferences of science are grounded in matters of fact that hold only in particular domains, so that all inductive inference is local. Some are so localized as to defy familiar characterization. Since inductive inference schemas are underwritten by facts, we can assess and control the inductive risk taken in an induction by investigating the warrant for its underwriting facts. In learning more facts, we extend our inductive reach by supplying more localized inductive inference schemes. Since a material theory no longer separates the factual and schematic parts of an induction, it proves not to be vulnerable to Hume's problem of the justification of induction.

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John D. Norton
University of Pittsburgh

References found in this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach.Peter Urbach & Colin Howson - 1993 - Chicago: Open Court. Edited by Peter Urbach.
A treatise on probability.John Maynard Keynes - 1921 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.
Theory and Evidence.Clark N. Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.

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