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Essay on Problem of Induction

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In the selection, ‘Skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding’, David Hume poses a problem for knowledge about the world. This question is related to the problem of induction. David Hume was one of the first who decided to analyze this problem. He starts the selection by providing his form of dividing the human knowledge, and later discusses reasoning and its dependence on experience. Hume states that people believe that the future will resemble the past, but we have no evidence to support this belief. In this paper, I will clarify the forms of knowledge and reasoning and examine Hume’s problem of induction, which is a challenge to Justified True Belief account because we lack a justification for our beliefs.
The problem of induction has a close relation with the inductive reasoning and such expression as “a posteriori”. There are two distinct methods of reasoning: deductive and inductive approaches. A deductive argument is the truth preserving in which if the premises are true than it follows that the conclusion will be true too. The deductive reasoning goes from the general to the specific things. On the other hand, an inductive argument is an argument that may contain true premises and still has a false conclusion. Induction or the inductive reasoning is the form of reasoning in which we make a conclusion about future experience or about presence based on the past experience. The problem of induction also has a connection with the expressions as “a priori” and “a posteriori”. The truth in a priori statement is embedded in the statement itself, and the truth is considered to be as common knowledge or justification without the need to experience. Whereas, in order to determine if a pos...


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...fore, I can conclude that my laptop will persist in the future. We can think that we justified our belief by providing these two premises as reasoning. However, we justified it though induction and Hume states that we have no reason in believing into the inductive argument. Our argument becomes a weak one, since the second premise is unsupported. The problem of induction raised by Hume is challenge to justified true belief account because it shows how our inductive argument about the future and unobserved does not provide a good support. Therefore, we cannot get a justified belief by applying inductive principle.



Works Cited

Hume, D. (1748). Skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding. In T.S. Gendler, S. Siegel, S.M. Cahn (Eds.) , The Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past and Present (pp. 422-428). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


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