Skepticism about Induction

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Abstract

This article considers two arguments that purport to show that inductive reasoning is unjustified: the argument adduced by Sextus Empiricus and the (better known and more formidable) argument given by Hume in the Treatise. While Sextus' argument can quite easily be rebutted, a close examination of the premises of Hume's argument shows that they are seemingly cogent. Because the sceptical claim is very unintuitive, the sceptical argument constitutes a paradox. And since attributions of justification are theoretical, and the claim that they are never (or seldom) true isn't preposterous, the correct response to the paradox may well be to admit that the sceptic has exposed our error in making them.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Skepticism
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199892020
ISBN (Print)9780195183214
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2009

Keywords

  • David Hume
  • False conclusion
  • Induction
  • K. R. popper
  • L. J. Savage
  • Sextus empiricus
  • Skeptical argument
  • True premises

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