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Hume's inductive logic

Mura, Alberto Mario (1998) Hume's inductive logic. Synthese, Vol. 115 (3), p. 303-331. eISSN 1573-0964. Article.

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DOI: 10.1023/A:1005041012179


This paper presents a new account of Hume’s “probability of causes”. There are two main results attained in this investigation. The first, and perhaps the most significant, is that Hume developed – albeit informally – an essentially sound system of probabilistic inductive logic that turns out to be a powerful forerunner of Carnap’s systems. The Humean set of principles include, along with rules that turn out to be new for us, well known Carnapian principles, such as the axioms of semiregularity, symmetry with respect to individuals (exchangeability), predictive irrelevance and positive instantial relevance. The second result is that Hume developed an original conception of probability, which is subjective in character, although it differs from contemporary personalistic views because it includes constraints that are additional to simple consistency and do not vary between different persons. The final section is a response to Gower’s thesis, by which Hume’s probability of causes is essentially non-Bayesian in character. It is argued that, on closer examination, Gower’s reading of the relevant passages is untenable and that, on the contrary, they are in accordance with the Bayesian reconstruction presented in this paper.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:5279
Uncontrolled Keywords:Hume inductive logic probability, enumerative induction, carnap skepticism, scepticism
Subjects:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-FIL/02 Logica e filosofia della scienza
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01 Dipartimenti > Teorie e ricerche dei sistemi culturali
Publisher:Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holders:© 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers
Additional Information:This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.
Deposited On:22 Dec 2010 11:28

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