Feb 14, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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The ancient philosophers did not think much about the problem of induction. For them, there never was a problem.
Induction, however, is problematic for sophistic skeptics, both presocratic and postmodern. Why do they think so?
Starting from nothing, we have acquired knowledge. We have discovered many things about the nature of the world. As a civilization, we have increased our wealth of knowledge over time. That logical method by which each mind employs to discover new knowledge is induction. So, the philosophical issue is not over whether induction doesn't exist or that it doesn't work. Like rain on a cloudy, low-pressured day, induction happens. Rather, the issue is over whether one can induce well enough to yield truth categorically and certainty nonprobabilistically.
We are going to explore the skeptics' problem of induction and why it is irresolvable for them. Certain errors of thought are suggested as endemic. If we have time left over, we will explore a theory of induction based on how children learn their first generalizations. We will see why the once-burnt-twice-shy sampling thesis is valid--that is to say, in every case, you need but one single example to make the inductive inference.