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Probability and Hume's Inductive Scepticism$
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D.C. Stove

Print publication date: 1973

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245018

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245018.001.0001

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Introduction: Object and Plan of the Book

Introduction: Object and Plan of the Book

(p.1) Introduction: Object and Plan of the Book
Probability and Hume's Inductive Scepticism


Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the main results of the evaluation of David Hume's argument for inductive scepticism. The sceptical conclusion of Hume's argument is false. It rests on a certain identifiable premiss which is false. However, not all of the conclusions are hostile to Hume's argument. Its true premisses suffice to prove an important negative conclusion, though not a sceptical one, about inductive inferences. And what has historically been learnt from Hume's argument is of very great importance, even though it is partly opposite to what Hume intended to teach. The identification of this argument involves the identification of Hume's sceptical conclusion, as well as some of his premisses, as being statements of logical probability. Hume's scepticism about induction is quite interesting enough, even considered in itself, to justify the present inquiry.

Keywords:   David Hume, inductive scepticism, Hume's argument, inductive inferences, logical probability, induction

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