Michael Daniel 9-24-2006 Sober, pg.

188 – 193 Thesis: Although philosophers have tried to refute it, Hume’s skepticism has not yet been successfully refuted. Hume’s Principle of the Uniformity of Nature (PUN) states that nature must be uniform in every possible way or else we can have no justification for induction. Hume said that we must believe this in order to be able to induce anything. Sober says that we can induce things without believing that. For example, we do not induce that all leaves will always be green. We know that they change colors for the seasons. Sober modified PUN to say that, “the future will resemble the past in some respect”. Nobody has yet been able to clarify PUN so that it has these properties: “(1) PUN is plausible.” “(2) PUN gives advice about what we should infer from present observations.” “(3) If we want to make inductive inferences about the world PUN in something we must believe, no matter what else we believe.” Sober proposes that since these things cannot be proven we drop PUN altogether. Sober rewords Hume again and says that Hume’s argument involves the idea that, “a method of inference possesses some degree of reliability.” He then says that we have a rule of inference that states that, “A rule of inference permits you to draw conclusions.” The rule of inference allows us to conclude that all emeralds are green because all emeralds that we have seen so far have been green. It also allows us to say that induction has been accurate historically; therefore induction will be accurate from now on as well. These arguments can not be proven thru logic because they are circular.

A philosopher named Strawson said that, “Induction is rational,” is an a priori truth. In other words, it is like a postulate in mathematics. He agreed with Hume that induction can’t be proven to reliably produce truth, which means that induction can not reliably produce knowledge. The problem with Strawson’s argument is that if induction can not be used to create knowledge then there is no reason to use induction. The entire point of inducing things is to produce knowledge. A philosopher named Black tried to justify that induction can be inductively justified. He stated that because induction has been highly reliable until now, probably, induction will be highly reliable if we use it now and in the future. He justified this argument by saying that it was not circular because the conclusion does not occur as one of the premises. To put it simply, Black played a word game with induction. Counterinduction is the principle that tells us that past regularities will not continue. For example, if I have always had $5.00 in my pocket for as long as I can remember and I’m in line to buy a $5.00 movie ticket then one can counterinduct that soon I will no longer have that $5.00 in my pocket anymore. Nobody has yet proven Hume’s skepticism to be false.