Outside Speaker Series - The Problem of Induction: East and West

Dr. Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti

Date & Time:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


MHC 204 (Murray-Herrick)
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

      Hume is usually credited with introducing the classical problem of inductive reasoning by arguing that such reasoning is invariably circular in nature since the key principle such reasoning relies on is a) in need of support but b) any support that could be given for it must assume it to be true.  More recently, Nelson Goodman has presented a further problem for inductive reasoning by positing the possibility of properties which entail that a substance will be in one state (e.g. green) before a certain time, but in another (e.g. blue), after that time.  In the Indian philosophical tradition, the charge that induction is invariably circular is made early by a legendary figure named Carvaka (6th century BCE?).  Much later, problems for inductive reasoning that are similar to the one raised by Goodman are discussed by Gangesa (13th century), and others.

      Recent philosophers like Russell, Strawson, Popper, Quine, etc. have offered solutions to the problems besetting inductive reasoning that do not appear to be satisfactory.  It may be profitable to look at older solutions offered by Gangesa and others, or so I shall argue in this paper.

(aimed at Philosophy Department faculty)

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