• Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    But it is obvious that induction has worked;Janus

    To those who find it is obvious, sure. To those who don't, what then?

    there is no more need of argument for that than there is to justify saying the sun has always risen on earthly lifeJanus

    There is if you want to change the mind of someone who doesn't already believe that.

    NB that I'm not saying "you need to show me an argument if you want to believe this". That's half the point of my view in the OP: nobody needs to show an argument to anyone else just to be allowed to believe something. But if you want to tell someone else that they're wrong (e.g. if someone doesn't believe in induction, and you want to tell them they're wrong not to), then you absolutely do need an argument.

    Can you give an account of any other means of arriving at confirmable/ dis-confirmable beliefs than induction?Janus

    Someone tells you something, and you don't know any better to the contrary, so you believe them.

    Or:

    It'd be really nice if something were the case, and you're not certain that it's not, so you tell yourself that it is.

    Just for two examples.

    Can you give an example of two competing beliefs, and explain how induction would not be at all involved in deciding between them.Janus

    Some phenomenon has occurred in the past in this pattern: twice one day, four times the next day, eight times the next day.

    One person believes on the basis of induction that that phenomenon always occurs in pairs, and always increases, though in no particular pattern.

    Another person believes that it always increases exponentially, but not necessarily in pairs or even power-of-two exponents, this one just happens to be doubling.

    They look to see how the pattern continues: the next day, the phenomenon occurs 16 times.

    That fits both of their induced hypotheses, and so doesn't tell us which of them is more or less correct.

    Yes, of course we shouldn't demand absolute proof of anything before believing it; that is very the nature of inductionJanus

    Yes, which is why induction is a fine reason to believe something on my account.

    NB though that on my account, if someone else believes something, and you don't see a reason to, but they do, in the same data, you can't demand that they convince you of the pattern that they see to justify their belief via induction, or else that they discard it. They don't need to show you a reason to believe it in order to be allowed to believe it. You need to show them a reason not to believe it, if you want them to change their mind.

    Other kinds of belief; aesthetical, ethical or metaphysical are discarded, if they are, for personal reasons; there can be no inter-subjectively definitive reasons in those cases. By that I mean there can be no reasons that a suitably educated unbiased observer would be bound to accept.Janus

    I disagree, but that's beyond the scope of this thread.

    As I understand it, the problem is not only that it can't deliver certainty, but that there's no good reason to think it would deliver any support at all, even merely probabilistic support. — Pfhorrest

    That's where we definitely do disagree. I think...
    Janus

    You misunderstand me, I wasn't saying what I think there, but what my understanding of what Hume says is. As I understand Hume, he is pointing out that there can't be given any convincing reason to think (i.e. any way to change the mind of someone who doesn't already think) that induction lends any support to anything, because its negation is not a straightforward contradiction (which would be needed for an a priori deductive argument), and the only other kind of argument (so he thinks) is itself an inductive one, which of course won't convince someone who's not already convinced of induction.
  • Janus
    9.6k
    To those who find it is obvious, sure. To those who don't, what then?Pfhorrest

    We can only conclude that they are blind, ignorant or in denial.

    As I understand Hume, he is pointing out...Pfhorrest

    Well, I guess what he is pointing out is open to interpretation. As I said earlier I think he is just pointing out that there is no deductive certainty, no logical necessity, that nature's observed regularities will remain in place in the future.

    That means, not that there is no reason to believe that they will abide into the future, but that there is no purely logical reason to believe that they will.

    Basically, he's pointing out that induction is not deduction in other words.

    Someone tells you something, and you don't know any better to the contrary, so you believe them.

    Or:

    It'd be really nice if something were the case, and you're not certain that it's not, so you tell yourself that it is.

    Just for two examples.
    Pfhorrest

    Induction gives us a rational reason to believe things. Those two examples are of things we have no rational reason to believe unless, in the first example, we have inductive reason to believe that the person is generally a reliable source, and in the second case there can be no rational reason to believe unless there are inductive reasons. Of course there can always be emotional reasons, but that is another story.

    Yes, which is why induction is a fine reason to believe something on my account.Pfhorrest

    So, yes, but it is not merely a "fine reason" it provides the only rational reasons to believe some claim about the way the world is.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    As I said earlier I think he is just pointing out that there is no deductive certainty, no logical necessity, that nature's observed regularities will remain in place in the future.Janus

    He explicitly considers the possibility of inductive arguments in favor of that, though, and then rejects them as being circular, which suggests that he would have been satisfied that there was reason to believe it if an inductive argument to that effect could work, no deduction required -- but because an inductive argument would have to rely on exactly that thing he's looking to argue for, it can't work, because of circularity.
  • Janus
    9.6k

    There is no argument for it other than constant experience of it, and total lack of counterexamples to it. You keep falling into the trap of thinking there must be a purely logical argument. We're just going in circles now; time to quit I think.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    There is no argument for it other than constant experience of it, and total lack of counterexamples to it.Janus

    ...which is only an argument at all if you think induction works already, which is why that makes the argument circular.

    You keep falling into the trap of thinking there must be a purely logical argumentJanus

    I think a pragmatic argument works fine, and since you also seem to give pragmatic arguments, I don't see why you think there also has to be anything more. Hume is the one who doesn't seem to consider pragmatic arguments as a possible avenue, and who thus sees a problem.

    We're just going in circles nowJanus

    Just like Hume said you would! ;)

    time to quit I thinkJanus

    I've been trying to quit this thread for weeks
    (?)
    (?) [time has no meaning anymore]
    now.
  • Janus
    9.6k
    which is only an argument at all if you think induction works alreadyPfhorrest

    I just can't imagine how anyone with eyes open could fail to see that induction works and thus think that it does; and it seems to me that anyone who doesn't think that must be so stupid, close-minded or in denial for emotional reasons as to be insusceptible to counterargument in any case. Why would I worry about convincing such people?

    The point of Hume's problem is not to question whether induction works, but whether we have any purely logical reason to believe it will continue to do so. We know it always has worked and that it works now, we don't know with absolute certainty that it will work in the future, but given that it always has worked and that it works now, we have no reason to think that it won't in the future and certainly far less reason to think that it won't than that it will.
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