Hume 's Problem Of Induction Essay

Hume 's Problem Of Induction Essay

Length: 1349 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In this essay I will argue that we can learn to live with the fact that there is no answer to Hume 's problem of induction, by showing that we have an 'a priori ' 'desire to survive, ' which forces us to make inductive inferences. Firstly, I will explain my understanding of the question, due to its problematic nature. I will then outline Hume 's problem of induction, and try to provide an 'a priori ' justification for a rational 'desire to survive ' and show how this desire forces us to make inductive inferences. I will then object to my argument suggesting that the assumption regarding a priori value of pleasure can be problematic, and that the definition of rationality is debatable. As a response, I will consider the idea of a 'reflective equilibrium ' suggesting that we have no other coherent defense of making inductive inferences.

My interpretation of what is meant by 'can we learn to live with it? ': 'can ' means "to be able to" (Cambridge, 2015); 'learn ' to mean accepting the problem of induction, but not to deny the usage of induction, but rather to accept a weak justification of it; 'live ' to mean "to continue to exist" as a rational being (Oxford, 2015); 'it ' refers to induction. To paraphrase, I will be looking to provide a justification (however weak it may be) for the rational use of induction, in light of there being no answer to it, which will ultimately allow us to continue to exist as rational human beings.

To define and demonstrate 'the problem of induction’, we have to look at the two ways in which Hume states we can describe the world: “relations of ideas" and "matters of fact" (Hume, 1748, p.18). The former, relation of ideas, can be known 'a priori ' - knowledge which requires no empirical obs...

... middle of paper ...

...ecided that what I have argued for above is the most coherent way view regarding the problem of induction. It should be noted that I can modify my view "as new elements arise in our thinking"; my current view is simply "stable" for the time being (Daniels, 2013).

To sum up, I have outlined the problem of induction above and given my justification for making inductive inferences, through showing 'a priori ' the 'desire to survive ', and the rationality behind this reasoning. I have considered that my assumption concerning pleasure may be fallible, as is my view of rationality. However, whilst recognising that there is no answer to the problem of induction, I claim that we have to reach a "reflective equilibrium", where we have not ceased to try to solve the problem, but have come to a "stable" point where the beliefs are coherent and have a degree of justification.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Abandoning of Induction in Favor of Deduction and Falsification

- Induction A significant function of science, and of everyday thinking, is to make sense of available information. Induction is the process of going from the specific to the general thereby reaching a conclusion about the complex nature of the universe from a , thus far, limited set of observations. A person uses a collection of evidence, gained through experience, and uses it to form a conclusion which is conceived to be conform with the given facts. This means the observations may be true, but because of the given limitation of observation the conclusion could still be proven false....   [tags: Induction, Hume, science]

Better Essays
1039 words (3 pages)

David Hume 's Theory Of Induction Essay example

- Problem of Induction In this paper, I will discuss Hume’s “problem of induction,” his solution to the problem, and whether or not his solution to the problem is correct. In David Hume 's 'An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding ', Hume states that no actual proof exists to suggest that future occurrences will happen the way previous occurrences did. His solution to this “problem of induction” is that our beliefs about cause and effect are based out of pure habit of thought that we have become accustomed to....   [tags: Inductive reasoning, Reasoning]

Better Essays
917 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Problem of Induction

- In the selection, ‘Skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding’, David Hume poses a problem for knowledge about the world. This question is related to the problem of induction. David Hume was one of the first who decided to analyze this problem. He starts the selection by providing his form of dividing the human knowledge, and later discusses reasoning and its dependence on experience. Hume states that people believe that the future will resemble the past, but we have no evidence to support this belief....   [tags: Philosophy / Logic]

Better Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume

- David Hume wrote Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding in 1748, right in the middle of the Enlightenment and on the eve of the Industrial and Scientific Revolution. So it only makes sense that some of the ideas and comparisons used are slightly outdated, but science, if anything, helps his argument regarding causality. Hume is ultimately concerned with the origins of causality, how we are able to gain knowledge from causality, and if we can even call the knowledge derived from causality real knowledge....   [tags: David Hume, Enlightenment]

Better Essays
1049 words (3 pages)

Final Paper: The Induction Problem

- Final Paper: The Induction Problem Inductive reasoning is the idea that a conclusion is drawn from multiple premises. We tend to understand certain concepts by building up details from prior knowledge to reach a certain idea. However, this approach to learning has its limitations. Not all conclusions can be drawn from what we know because we aren’t always all knowing about certain concepts. We are also left with no room for drawing conclusions about the future because not all premises are consistent....   [tags: inductive reasoning, philosophical analysis]

Better Essays
1608 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on The Differences Between Induction And Deduction

- In this we essay will briefly look at the differences between induction and deduction. We will then examine Hume’s problem of induction and popular approaches to solving the problem. Finally we will consider whether Hume’s problem warrants our concern, does scientific advancement require induction to proceed or does it proceed deductively. A deductive argument is ‘truth tropic’-it leads us to true conclusions. Deductive arguments are ones where the premises entail the conclusion; as a result, it is logically impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion to be false....   [tags: Scientific method, Inductive reasoning, Logic]

Better Essays
1452 words (4.1 pages)

David Hume 's Principles Of Uniformity Of Nature Essay

- Scottish philosopher David Hume is amongst one of the most influential empirical philosophers to date for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. As an Empiricist Hume claimed that the only way we can obtain knowledge is through our senses however he argues true knowledge is unattainable for all intent and purpose, due to the problem of induction.By briefly examining Hume 's problem of induction and it 's dependancy to of the so called principles of Uniformity of Nature we could come to a conclusion that Hume 's is correct....   [tags: Logic, Inductive reasoning, Scientific method]

Better Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

Inconsistencies in Hume's Empirical Thought Essay

- Inconsistencies in Hume's Empirical Thought   In his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume attempts to uncover the ultimate truth about where our knowledge comes from.  This leads him to suggest that all our ideas and knowledge arise from outward experiences and sensations.  He attempts to prove this by solving the "problem of induction."  I disagree with Hume's ideas, and in this essay I will explain why.  I shall begin by explaining the problem of induction, and the sceptical doubts Hume raises concerning the inductive process.  I will then explain how Hume solves the problem.  Finally, I will conclude by offering a critique of Hume's doctrine, and explain why I find it to...   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Better Essays
2250 words (6.4 pages)

The Impossibility of Metaphysics Essay

- In his work An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume outlines the problems inherent to the large body of philosophy he describes as the “accurate and abstract” philosophy, and in particular to metaphysical speculations. Seeing that many of the philosophers who endeavor in this heavy metaphysical speculation (Aristotle, Locke and Malebranche being particular examples) fall into errors that lead to absurd or counter-intuitive conclusions, Hume hopes to limit metaphysical speculation to a realm where it is less prone to such a fate....   [tags: HUme's Model of the Mind]

Better Essays
1552 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Max Black and Humean Skepticism

- Max Black and Humean Skepticism In this essay I will argue that the Humean problem of induction is only truly problematic when a strange, impossible definition is given to the term “reasonable”. I will begin by explaining what it is I understand Hume’s induction problem to be, and to try to flesh out the issues relevant to my case. I will then examine Max Black’s proposed solution to the problem, and show in what ways this solution is useful and why it is ultimately unconvincing. In this latter context I will invoke the work of Wesley Salmon, and then try to solve the problem that Salmon poses....   [tags: Max Black Hume Essays]

Better Essays
1546 words (4.4 pages)