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Lecture 12

Lecture 12 Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

PHLA10 – Lecture 12 Notes November 13 and 15 , 2012 The Problem of Induction Chapters 15 - 17 Justified Belief and Hume’s Problem of Induction Chapter 15: Pages 180 - 185 Knowledge vs. Justified Belief 1. Knowledge requires truth while justified belief does not  Knowledge: S knows that p, so p must be true.  Justified belief: S has a justified belief, but no truth. 2. Knowledge has the impossibility of error, while justified belief does not  Justified belief deals with probability of error  Your present experience doesn’t make it certain, but it does seem more plausible to say your experiences make it very probable Is truth required? Is the impossibility of error required? Knowledge Yes Yes Justified Belief No No Skepticism and Justified Belief  Regular skepticism attacks knowledge claiming that due to impossibility, we have no or almost no knowledge  Justified belief skepticism attacks rationality, claiming we have no reason to think that any belief is either more or less probably than any other o Example: No reason to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow.  There are two forms of induction: Generalization (GEN) and Prediction (PRED) o Beliefs that we have on the future and generalization can’t be rationally justified; not because it isn’t certain or that we don’t know. o The only exceptions may be a priori beliefs, since they do not require observation, but fact only Hume’s Induction  Our expectations of the future and generalizations are based on evidence that isn’t deductively conclusive.  Induction: Not deductively valid for generalizations or predications of the future. There is absolutely no rational justification for our beliefs, it’s just a habit. Hume’s Principle of Uniformity of Nature (PUN)  Hume believed that all inductive arguments involved one crucial assumption, PUN  It stated that we must assume that the future will resemble the past. o Example: (GEN) PHLA10 – Lecture 12 Notes November 13 and 15 , 2012 The Problem of Induction Chapters 15 - 17 (1) I’ve observed numerous emeralds, and each has been green. Hence, all emeralds are green. o Example: (PRED) (1) I’ve observed numerous emeralds, and each has been green. Hence, the next emerald I observe will be green.  The dashed lines show that the argument is not deductively valid.  Without this assumption, the past would be no guide to the future  Assuming PUN if the observation premise is to support PRED or GEN offers rational defence; otherwise it is indefensible  Therefore, our beliefs of habit aren’t rationally justifiable since they rest on an assumption that can’t be rationally justified either. It’s a circular argument that begs the question. Overall 1. Every inductive argument requires the premise
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