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L14 The Problem of Induction.docx

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

The Problem of Induction October-23-12 David Hume 1711-1776  Hume's Fork= 2 kinds of human reason or inquiry o Relations of Ideas o Matters of Fact Relations of Ideas  3 x5=15 half of 30  Square of hypotenuses is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides  Bachelors are unmarried males o The sentence point to a relation between two ideas, you know these sentence s are true just by thinking about them Matters of Fact  The monkey is on the carpet  Bread is nourishing to human beings  My friend Peter is in France o To know these things you have to go out and check on the world, you can't discover their truth just by thinking about them o Not ascertained in the same manner as relations of ideas o Over evidence of their truth is not of the same nature as that of relations of ideas o The contrary of any matter of fact is possible: it never implies a contradiction, the contrary s entirely conceivable  Present testimony of our senses  Records of our memory  Your friend is in France o You know this because you got a letter from him  There once were human beings on the island o Inferred from discovery of a watch  A person is present o Inferred from hearing articulate voice and rational discourse in the dark  Relations of cause and effect are not themselves relations of ideas; they are matters of fact  "causes and effects are discoverable, not by reason but by experience o Examples: Two pieces of marble, explosion of gunpowder, attraction of magnets, conservation of momentum  Mystery about what links causes and effects, thinking of the cause doesn't always give us the thought of the effect  No necessary connection Hume's basic message is that if we think carefully about causes of cause-effect relationships All we have is an impression of one event followed by an impression of another event. We don’t have any impression of a link between the two events The yellow ball hits the red ball The red ball moves off No link, no connection is detected between these two events
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