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Keith Lehrer

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.001.0001

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Induction, Evidence, and Conceptual Change

Induction, Evidence, and Conceptual Change

(p.127) 5 Induction, Evidence, and Conceptual Change

Keith Lehrer

Oxford University Press

Induction proceeds from the certain to the uncertain, or so it is commonplace to say. On the contrary, induction is inference from uncertain evidence to uncertain conclusions. This conception of induction is articulated in this chapter. Philosophers have argued that the acceptance of statements in science and other epistemically virtuous enterprises should not be explicated as inductive inference from evidence to hypothesis. It would be misleading to construe the acceptance of theories based on inductive inference from observational evidence to theoretical conclusions. These and other contentions suggest the most fundamental reason philosophers have for rejecting the model of scientific acceptance based on inductive inference: that rejection and acceptance is influenced by conceptual change, by radical shifts in the way people conceive of the world rather than being based simply upon inference from evidence to hypothesis.

Keywords:   induction, certainty, inductive inference, evidence, acceptance, conceptual change, rejection

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