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8 Feb 2011
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Philosophy Week 10 Notes
Is PUN a priori?
-can we give a deductive proof of PUN?
-Is it possible that nature should not be uniform
-It seems possible, therefore, PUN sis not a priori
Therefore, PUN is a Posteriori
-so it must be proven either by observation or induction
-we cannot observe PUN because it is about the future
-so we must give an inductive argument for PUN
Therefore, the argument will contain an assumption
-the assumption – according to HUME – will be PUN
-although this is circular reasoning and cannot show PUN
Ex. Argument:
-in the past, PUN has always been true
-therefore, inductively, PUN is true
Hume notes that this argument depends on the assumption that nature will continue to obey PUN
The argument ought to be:
-in the past, PUN has always been true
-PUN
-Therefore, PUN is true
This argument fails because it blatantly assumes what it wants to prove
Hume’s attitude towards induction
-Hume thought we should reason inductively even though we have no rational reason to do so
-He thought we (and many other animals) are naturally structured to believe in and use induction
-Ex. Pavlov’s dogs
-Hume sometimes called this “habit
-He also noticed instincts – which arebuilt in” by nature and carry information about how organisms
“expect the world to work
-Hume wondered how instincts arose and came somewhat close to a concept of evolution
-But rationality cannot support the beliefs and expressed in instinct or by the habit of inductive inference
But is PUN needed for inductive arguments or the attack on induction?
What exactly is the content of PUN?
Is nature alwaysuniform”?
-do the seasons of the year show uniformity or diversity?
-Is the death of animals a feature of natural uniformity or a sudden dis-uniformity in an animals life
-It seems impossible to state PUN in any non-trivial way
-But PUN is not needed to create the problem of induction
Induction and reliability
-we want our inductive knowledge to be secure
-lets say that a Reliable method of inference is one that usually leads to the truth
o‘usually’ can be thought of as a scale, from the not very reliable to the highly reliable
o– ex. Prediction of solar eclipse – highly reliable
This scale can be expressed in terms of probability
-the probability of an eclipse given what we know about sun, earth and moon is virtually 1
-the probability of rain next week given our current knowledge is slightly more than 0.5
Sober’s version of the problem of induction
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Document Summary

Is it possible that nature should not be uniform. It seems possible, therefore, pun sis not a priori. Therefore, pun is a posteriori so it must be proven either by observation or induction. We cannot observe pun because it is about the future so we must give an inductive argument for pun. Therefore, the argument will contain an assumption the assumption according to hume will be pun although this is circular reasoning and cannot show pun. Argument: in the past, pun has always been true therefore, inductively, pun is true. Hume notes that this argument depends on the assumption that nature will continue to obey pun. The argument ought to be: in the past, pun has always been true. This argument fails because it blatantly assumes what it wants to prove. Hume thought we should reason inductively even though we have no rational reason to do so.

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