Deductive and Inductive Inference

In his discussion on induction, Hume suggests that inductive argumentation is fatally flawed because it must always “argue in a circle”. In your own words, and with reference to Hume’s article, explain what you think Hume means by this

In this case, Hume wants to argue that humans make inductive arguments rather than base their argument on reasoning. I think that Hume wanted to argue that in empirical studies, this reasoning is not always correct.

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From a personal point of view, Hume is not skeptical of induction. Rather, he wants to explain how humans make inductive reasoning, which is wrong when adopted in empirical studies. For example, consider a situation where three types of fruits (yellow, green, and red) are placed in the same box. A person picks one yellow fruit and consumes it but finds that it is bitter. The second and third yellow fruits also turn to be bitter.

Then, the individual turns to the green fruits and finds that the first, second, and third ones are sweet. The same person then turns to the red fruits and finds that the first, second, and third samples are tasteless. If the person is asked to state the taste of all the fruits in the box, the answer is that the yellow fruits are bitter, green ones are sweet while all the red ones are tasteless. Nevertheless, the person does not know the tastes of the other fruits left in the box. According to Hume, this is wrong reasoning because it is likely that some of the remaining fruits have the probability of changing tastes. Therefore, it is fatally misleading to use this type of argument in empirical studies.

In his discussion of deductive reasoning (via syllogism) Mill suggests that we never argue from universals to particulars, but only from particulars to particulars. In your own words, and with reference to Mill’s discussion, explain what you think Mill means by this

In this argument, Mill attempts to suggest that except names or nouns, there is nothing general. According to his argument, the early versions of moralism held this notion. It is evident that Mill suggested that a level of meaning is expressed by asserting entities some names. In research, Mill’s idea can be seen when entities are assigned some meaning by making them “connotative variables”. Mill states that names are important in denoting individuals or their attributes. For instance, a general name such as “green” is used to connote an attribute and denotes all the entities that have this attribute. As such, every object or person with this attribute is all “green”.

He gave the example of being mortal and being a man. Using the attributes of man and mortal, he wanted t mean that syllogisms are logically independent because they ad noting to the truth of the propositions. Therefore, the particulars (the subject and its attributes) are what matters. In this case, Mill wanted to show that deductive inference does not advance knowledge because syllogism does not discover anything new apart from what is already known.

In the article An Encounter by David Hume, Salmon has one of his characters suggest that there is a difference between the approach that is adopted by science with respect to testing hypotheses and resorting to induction. What is this method and how exactly does it work (i.e. what procedure does it follow)?

In using the hypothetical example of a student and her physics professor, Salmon wanted to describe the challenges that face Hume’s deductive reasoning. Salmon wants to suggest that demonstrative inferences sacrifice all extensions of content in order to obtain the preservation of truth. In this article, Salmon uses the class example to provide some modern responses to Hume in an attempt to challenge his ideas. For instance, Hume had suggested that inductive justification is wrong because it states that scientific methods are justified by the facts that they work on. On the other hand, Salmon uses the class example to show that the main issue is to predict whether science will work in the future.

Salmon also uses the example to show that it is wrong to say that testing a scientific law provides the ultimate proof that the truth of the law. He states that testing law is only a factor of stating a hypothesis that the truthfulness of the law should be followed by some consequences. The bottom-line argument in Salmon’s argument is that the scientific method involves the prediction of the results of future tests based on the outcomes of past tests. In this case, Salmon suggests that the scientific method is repeated to give one a good reason that the future application of the method will lead to accurate predictions than what has been obtained in the past.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, March 26). Deductive and Inductive Inference. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/deductive-and-inductive-inference/

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Deductive and Inductive Inference." March 26, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/deductive-and-inductive-inference/.

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