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Philosophy Speakers: Bryson Brown (Lethbridge), "Reconsidering Induction"

Date & Time:
November 14, 2014 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Social Sciences Building, Room 1253

The Philosophy Speakers Program presents

BRYSON BROWN (University of Lethbridge), "Reconsidering Induction"

About the Talk

Hume's argument against induction is one of the key texts of modern philosophy. Following the triumph of Newton's physics, it cast considerable doubt on the status of Newton's achievement and shaped the subsequent philosophical debate over the status and methods of science. Hume's argument has been the target of many responses (for a recent, vigorously wrongheaded critique see Stove, 1986). But many in the empiricist tradition of philosophy of science have openly despaired of an answer to Hume's challenge being arrived at. More recently, John Norton has proposed a 'material' account of induction which, he argues, is not subject to Hume's objections. I will approach the issue by raising some questions about the assumptions of Hume's argument: does induction as practiced really proceed as Hume presents it? Are other types of knowledge claim really induction-free? Further questions emerge from this inquiry: what is the real scope of the problem of induction, that is, what beliefs or knowledge claims do Humean worries about induction undermine? What does induction come to, in practice, and how do 'inductive' conclusions really relate to non-inductive commitments? I close with some discussion of how answers to these questions relate to Norton's material account.

About the Speaker

Bryson Brown is on the faculty of the Philosophy Department at the University of Lethbridge. He specializes in philosophical logic, preservationism, paraconsistency, philosophy of science, and evolution, and also has current current interests in ambiguity logics, laws of nature, and free will.  His most recent book (co-edited with P. K. Schotch and R. E. Jennings), On Preserving: Essays on Preservationism and Paraconsistent Logic, is forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press.

Brown's U of Lethbridge website

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