more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5190

[catalogued under 14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction]

Full Idea

The problem of induction is (roughly) finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalisations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future.

Gist of Idea

The induction problem is to prove generalisations about the future based on the past


A.J. Ayer (Language,Truth and Logic [1936], Ch.2)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.66

A Reaction

This doesn't seem to be the only problem. It seems self-evident (since Hume) that you cannot use deductive reasoning to prove that the future will be like the past. In fact, we should obviously be cautious, as things could easily change.