Author Information

David Hitchcock, McMasterFollow

Location

Brock University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

15-5-1997 9:00 AM

End Date

17-5-1997 5:00 PM

Abstract

In an enumerative induction we project a property found in all the examined members of a class to a hitherto unexamined member of that class. I consider an unresolved disagreement between Stephen Thomas and John Nolt about how likely the conclusion of one example of such reasoning is, given the premisses. Reflection on their controversy, and on the example, indicates that many textbook commonplaces about enumerative inductions are false. In particular, uniformity of the examined members of a class does not necessarily make it highly likely that the next member will have the target property; this proposition may still be unlikely, or on the other hand be quite definite, depending on our background knowledge. Also, enumerative induction need not rely on any general assumption about the uniformity of nature or the resemblance of the future to the past.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Roderic Girle, Commentary on Hitchcock

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Roderic Girle, Commentary on Hitchcock (May 1997)

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 17th, 5:00 PM

Enumerative Induction

Brock University

In an enumerative induction we project a property found in all the examined members of a class to a hitherto unexamined member of that class. I consider an unresolved disagreement between Stephen Thomas and John Nolt about how likely the conclusion of one example of such reasoning is, given the premisses. Reflection on their controversy, and on the example, indicates that many textbook commonplaces about enumerative inductions are false. In particular, uniformity of the examined members of a class does not necessarily make it highly likely that the next member will have the target property; this proposition may still be unlikely, or on the other hand be quite definite, depending on our background knowledge. Also, enumerative induction need not rely on any general assumption about the uniformity of nature or the resemblance of the future to the past.