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Direct inference and probabilistic accounts of induction

Williamson, Jon (2022) Direct inference and probabilistic accounts of induction. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, . ISSN 0925-4560. (doi:10.1007/s10838-021-09584-0) (KAR id:92402)

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Schurz (2019, ch. 4) argues that probabilistic accounts of induction fail. In particular, he criticises probabilistic accounts of induction that appeal to direct inference principles, including subjective Bayesian approaches (e.g., Howson 2000) and objective Bayesian approaches (see, e.g., Williamson 2017). In this paper, I argue that Schurz’ preferred direct inference principle, namely Reichenbach’s Principle of the Narrowest Reference Class, faces formidable problems in a standard probabilistic setting. Furthermore, the main alternative direct inference principle, Lewis’ Principal Principle, is also hard to reconcile with standard probabilism. So, I argue, standard probabilistic approaches cannot appeal to direct inference to explicate the logic of induction. However, I go on to defend a non-standard objective Bayesian account of induction: I argue that this approach can both accommodate direct inference and provide a viable account of the logic of induction. I then defend this account against Schurz’ criticisms.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10838-021-09584-0
Uncontrolled keywords: Induction, Direct inference, Principle of the Narrowest Reference Class, Principal Principle, Bayesianism, Logical probability
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA273 Probabilities
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Philosophy
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2021 15:07 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 10:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Williamson, Jon:
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