Description of Induction

The descriptive problem of induction is the problem of describing the methods by which we make inferences, without worrying about whether these inferences are likely to lead to the truth, or whether we have any reason to rely on them. This problem is surprisingly difficult.


Mill's Inductive Logic

One of the earliest attempts to say something definite about induction.

Syntactic Models

These models characterise good inductions in terms of the syntactic structure of the inductive argument. This is the way that deduction is characterised, and this approach was popular with the logical empiricists.

Inference to the Best Explanation

A popular recent approach which tries to get round the problems for the syntactic models by saying that we infer whatever best explains the data.


These problems mainly apply to the syntactic models of induction, and constitute the main motive for looking at other approaches.

The Raven Paradox

A problem for a particularly simple and intuitive syntactic formulation, showing that it makes all possible observations relevant to all possible hypotheses.

The New Riddle of Induction

A problem for any syntactic theory, arguing that it is not possible to distinguish good and bad inferences without reference to the meaning of the terms.

Important Philosophers



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Copyright David Chart 1997