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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Induction, Samples, and Kinds

Induction, Samples, and Kinds

(p.33) 2 Induction, Samples, and Kinds
Carving Nature at Its Joints

Peter Godfrey-Smith

The MIT Press

This chapter criticizes a familiar group of ideas about “inductive” inference, and uses that criticism to promote a different group. Many hold on to the position that induction is rational because, if not, factual knowledge will collapse. For the purposes of this chapter, induction is regarded as a pattern of arguments used to answer questions of proportion or frequency, e.g. “how many Fs are G?” “what is the rate of G in the Fs?” “Are all Fs G?” Nelson Goodman suggests, however, that the F and the G in a good inductive argument cannot simply be anything. Some kind of “naturalness” constraint is required on the involved predicates. Most philosophers would agree with Goodman even if they do not agree regarding what the constraint is or from where it comes.

Keywords:   inductive inference, induction, factual knowledge, questions of proportion, Nelson Goodman, inductive argument, naturalness constraint

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