September 19, 2020

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

Materialists Answer to the Problem of Induction

„Given our current sensory experience, how can we justify inferences from them and from our records of the past, to the future and to the sorts of scientific laws and theories we seek? (Rosenberg 2013) Hume’s argument: A conclusion is justified either deductively or inductively. Deduction: premises contain the conclusion. Induction: moves from the particular to the general. Induction cannot be justified deductively  induction is justified by induction  begs the question – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

Recently Jimmy had a conversation in regard to the issue of the materialist answer to the problem of induction. Here it is:

NewAtheist:

Where by facts are justified through local observation rather than conformity to a universal schema.

It works because it addresses the problem of induction and gives us a proper grounding for it.

Jimmy Stephens:

No example was given of a universal (ex. the universe operates in a regular fashion) being encountered in a local observation, much less belief in the universal justified by one. You cannot “observe” abstracta, like that all swans are xyz colors. You can experience a single swan, but not the generality induction is proposed to infer.

Moreover, it’s naively question begging. It just restates the problem in different terms. Who says the universe operates in such a regular way that you can detect patterns experientially? This view is reminiscent of Aristotle’s magical view of abstraction. On it, we just mystically produce the universal by experiencing the particular. Here, we just magically come about justifying inductive inferences (or beliefs, whatever that would mean) by having experiences of things that are not themselves the inductive principle.

It’s like somehow knowing that all presents are delivered by Santa by looking at a present.
1.) The categorical idea of Santa is not encountered in the present.
2.) The present provides no warrant for the belief that it’s part of a regular set in itself.
3.) The present provides no warrant for belief that this universe is the kind where presents can even be identified as presents in the first place, given that’s an inductive work that presupposes the regularity of the universe.

In short, this supposed answer is more atrocious than the simple question-begging line, “I used induction yesterday and it worked.”