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Justification of Induction (Readings in Philosophy) Paperback – January 10, 1974

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Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 10, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198750293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198750291
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,808,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
A little out of date, but still a good place to go
for the standard and classic readings on the problem
of induction.
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Format: Paperback
Why is the so-called "problem" of induction, on which this book is based, a problem at all? Obviously justifications for scientific arguments must end somewhere with some basic principles that cannot be further reduced. Why is it a "problem" that induction is among these principles? I will tell you why: because everyone is a closet logical empiricist and induction is neither logic nor empiricism. Hence the "problem" of induction, which is to reduce induction to the only principles sanctioned by the logical empiricists. The sect cannot conceive of the possibility that the only "problem" is their stubborn insistence that science reduces to logic and empiricism. In other words, the "problem" is not with induction but with the logical empiricists' naive conception of science, which creates the "problem" out of thin air for the sake of its own self-preservation. This is also the reason why essentially no one spoke of a "problem" of induction until the 20th century. The now ever-so-popular attempts to pin the "problem" on Hume are of course pathetic pseudo-history fabricated by the sect to inflate its own ego.

To restate my point differently I quote from the introduction: "ordinary people and scientists use inductive arguments all the time, and in general men agree about when an inductive argument is correct ... but it remains a difficult matter to state the precise criteria which we use for judging inductive arguments" (p. 7). The natural conclusion is that induction is a primitive not further reducible and an unproblematic one at that. The only reason that this natural conclusion is barred is that philosophers have got it into their heads that science must be reducible to logic and empiricism.
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More About the Author

Richard Swinburne is a British philosopher. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and was Professor of the Philosophy of Religion at Oxford University from 1985 until 2002.His latest book Mind. Brain and Free Will argues that humans consist of two parts, body and soul, and that humans have free will. He is best known for his trilogy on the philosophy of theism (The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason). The Existence of God (2nd edition, 2004)claims that arguments from the existence of laws of nature, those laws as being such as to lead to the evolution of human bodies, and humans being conscious, make it probable that there is a God. He has written four books on the meaning and justification of central Christian doctrines (including Providence and the Problem of Evil); and he has applied his views about what is made probable by what evidence to the evidence about the Resurrection of Jesus in The Resurrection of God Incarnate. Is there a God? and Was Jesus God? are short books summarizing the arguments of the longer books. He has written at various lengths on many of the other major issues of philosophy (including epistemology, the study of what makes a belief rational or justified, in his book Epistemic Justification). He lives in Oxford, and lectures frequently in many different countries.