Inference by Analogy and the Progress of Knowledge: From Reflection to Determination in Judgements of Natural Purpose

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (4):681-709 (2015)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue that Darwin's On the Origin of Species can be interpreted as the culmination of an extended exercise of what Kant called ‘the reflecting power of judgement’ that issued in a form of reasoning that Hegel associates with inference by analogy and that Peirce associates with hypothesis and later assimilates to abduction. After some exegetical and rationally reconstructive work, I support this reading by showing that Darwin's theory of natural selection gave us a way of understanding the purposive character of organic generation and growth that does not rely on an analogy with intentional agency and outlining some of the uses to which this new understanding was put in reasoning about mind and society by American intellectuals in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the process I hope to shed some light on the relationship between mechanistic and purposive explanation in judgements of nature

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Author's Profile

Preston Stovall
University of Hradec Králové

References found in this work

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1963 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Critique of the Power of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.

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