Hume's Problem: Induction and the Justification of Belief

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Clarendon Press, 2000 - Philosophy - 261 pages
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Colin Howson offers a solution to one of the central, unsolved problems of Western philosophy, the problem of induction. In the mid-eighteenth century David Hume argued that successful prediction tells us nothing about the truth of the predicting theory. No matter how many experimental tests a hypothesis passes, nothing can be legitimately inferred about its truth or probable truth. But physical theory routinely predicts the values of observable magnitudes to many places of decimals andwithin very small ranges of error. The chance of this sort of predictive success without a true theory seems so remote that the possibility should be dismissed. This suggests that Hume's argument must be wrong; but there is still no consensus on where exactly the flaw in the argument lies. Howson argues that there is no flaw, and examines the implications of this disturbing conclusion for the relation between science and its empirical base.

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
RELIABILISM
22
REALISM AND THE NOMIRACLES ARGUMENT
35
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

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About the author (2000)


Colin Howson is Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics.

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