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The solution to induction
Posted: 25 June 2011 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The only things it is reasonable to accept on faith, to believe in, is our existance, awarenes of it and capacity to understand.

This limits induction to this point, a foundation for genuine philosophy to grow.

The rest can be understood. Through evidence, observation and reason.

As we are constantly changing there is never a complete picture to be understood until one is dead, so no one may ever completely understand themselves, though we all believe we are a particular way and excercise our freedoms to be that way, thus making it real or failing to. By the same token, any evidence or observations one could make or be offered in support of our existance neccessarily presumes the validity of that existance to see and understand said evidence and observations. Therefore, we must believe that we exist before we can understand anything else. And everything else can be understood with sufficient observations, evidence and reason, thus there is no problem of induction.

Does this withstand scrutiny?

[ Edited: 25 June 2011 07:50 AM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 25 June 2011 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t think so. Rationally, things can be true by logical reasoning, or by definition. Rather than accepting existance on faith, what about existing being true by definition for anything that exists?

Similarly, I can accept the concept of the number one on faith, or it can be true by definition, no faith required.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The original problem of induction is Hume’s, which amounts to the claim that inductive reasoning is not logically valid. Just because something happened in the past, even if it happened in the past very many times, does not imply with necessity that it will happen in the future.

The standard way people will claim to refute the problem is to say that inductive reasoning has worked for us in the past, so it will in the future. But that falls afoul of the same problem. Just because something worked in the past does not imply with necessity that it will work in the future.

I think the only real way out of it is just to say that there are many forms of valid reason, one of which is logical, deductive reasoning and another of which is inductive reasoning, even though inductive reasoning is not deductively valid.

(There is another, newer problem of induction raised in the 20th c. by Nelson Goodman, for any who are interested. Though it amounts to a refinement of Hume’s problem).

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Posted: 25 June 2011 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Right doug, but my supposition is asserting that induction IS valid when it comes to accepting our own existance as there is no other way to do so, and that past that induction useful for formulating theories. If something does the same thing on a regular basis for a time, then changes behavior there is a reason for this that we can learn and understand. When we aquire this additional information we need rethink our theories, but that is the strength of both science and philosophy, the ability to evolve.

Using induction to formulate theories is not a problem, but not changing theories in the face of contrary observations, evidence or reason is always a problem. And when all variables are known there is no need for induction at all, except for accepting that you percieve reality only because you believe you have percieved reality until now.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The standard (Cartesian) way to establish existence is explicitly deductive: “I think, therefore I am”. I don’t see any room for induction. One might say, “I’ve existed in the past, therefore I will exist in the future”, but clearly that’s a bad argument since it would purport to establish that you’re immortal.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But the Cartesian way is simply false, it implies reverse causality. After all, we all existed some time before we began to think. The better answer, as I see it, is “I am, therefore I think.”

And the only reason to conclude the “I am” is becuase of the “I think,” hence induction.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 08:48 AM

But the Cartesian way is simply false, it implies reverse causality. After all, we all existed some time before we began to think. The better answer, as I see it, is “I am, therefore I think.”

And the only reason to conclude the “I am” is becuase of the “I think,” hence induction.

I’m certainly much more amateurish in the philosophical language than you guys, but I don’t find this analysis particularly useful either way. It’s just commentary on our brains and our apparent self-awareness.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 08:48 AM

But the Cartesian way is simply false, it implies reverse causality. After all, we all existed some time before we began to think. The better answer, as I see it, is “I am, therefore I think.”

And the only reason to conclude the “I am” is becuase of the “I think,” hence induction.

No, because not everything that exists, thinks. If that were a correct deduction, we’d have to deduce that “The Washington Monument exists, therefore the Washington Monument thinks” is a sound argument. It isn’t.

Descartes’s argument uses logical form: If I am thinking, then there must be something that exists, namely the thing that is thinking. That’s a matter of pure logic.

You have to understand this in order to understand what Descartes is saying. (And I think you have to understand it to understand the difference between deduction and induction).

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TromboneAndrew, philosophy is not a language friend, it is a manner of thinking. If two people are discussing something, and what is being discussed seems of little value to you but they seem to find the observations useful, consider the possibility there is meaning you do not yet understand. That is philosophy, the search for meaning, understanding.

Often, when seemingly opposite understandings pair off the truth that comes out is some form of combination of the two, such as time/space, electricity/magnetism and many more examples. Reality is a combination of paradoxes, simplicity and complexity intertwined. At least, this is the understanding I have gained thus far.

Doug, I am not implying everything that exists thinks, I am implying that everything that has a concept of “I am” thinks.

Although I am starting to think that perhaps induction and deduction are not as far removed from each other as I had thought, perhaps one of those paradoxes that needs to be combined to see the truth.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 09:28 AM

Doug, I am not implying everything that exists thinks, I am implying that everything that has a concept of “I am” thinks.

Then you’re making quite a different argument from Descartes. Your argument appears to be of the form:

(1) I have a concept of being
——————Therefore
(2) I think

It’s definitely got some suppressed premises (as it stands, it’s not logically valid), but I think it’s an argument that could be made to work.

But it has nothing to do with existing per se; only with having the concept of existing, which is quite a different thing.

It also has nothing to do with induction.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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If it is not logically valid, where is the flaw?

The existance of awareness itself is what I was speculating on, as without that existance there is no “I am.” And it is only the awareness of awareness that lends validity to it.

I think that actually embodies the very essence of induction, despite your assertions there is none involved. Although I now think there is just as much deduction involved.

Mathematical induction is recognized as deduction, and you and I are quibbling on which is which so it seems to be less easily defined than one would think. This implies to me they are the same function, or rather parts of the same, although I suspect it will be as difficult to formulate proof of this as it was to prove time and space are the same.

It seems as though logic is both induced and deduced, so the only way to avoid the problems of induction, and the limitations of deduction, is to recongize both of these as equal parts of human reason.

If you see a failing, I am all ears (or eyes, I suppose).

[ Edited: 25 June 2011 11:02 AM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 25 June 2011 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 10:00 AM

If it is not logically valid, where is the flaw?

The flaw is that the conclusion does not follow deductively from the premise. A deductive argument is of the form:

(1) If X then Y
(2) X

————
(3) Y

Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 10:00 AM

The existance of awareness itself is what I was speculating on, as without that existance there is no “I am.” And it is only the awareness of awareness that lends validity to it.

I think that actually embodies the very essence of induction, despite your assertions there is none involved. Although I now think there is just as much deduction involved.

Mathematical induction is recognized as deduction, and you and I are quibbling on which is which so it seems to be less easily defined than one would think. This implies to me they are the same function, or rather parts of the same, although I suspect it will be as difficult to formulate proof of this as it was to prove time and space are the same.

“Induction” as used in philosophy or philosophy of science is not the same as “mathematical induction”. You’re confusing two separate issues. “Mathematical induction” is a logically valid (i.e. deductively valid) operation.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Considering that thinking is the only way to understand, or identify, any concept, I would contest that does logically follow.

I do not think I am confusing anything, I am recognizing similarities and patterns, as this is how we understand things. I now think confusion arises from the false separation between induction and deduction, as they are both required to reason.

I am familiar with the definitions, doug. Don’t get stuck on what others have thought/said before. Learn it, use it, then think on what might be better.

[ Edited: 25 June 2011 01:10 PM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 25 June 2011 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 09:28 AM

TromboneAndrew, philosophy is not a language friend, it is a manner of thinking. If two people are discussing something, and what is being discussed seems of little value to you but they seem to find the observations useful, consider the possibility there is meaning you do not yet understand. That is philosophy, the search for meaning, understanding.

Often, when seemingly opposite understandings pair off the truth that comes out is some form of combination of the two, such as time/space, electricity/magnetism and many more examples. Reality is a combination of paradoxes, simplicity and complexity intertwined. At least, this is the understanding I have gained thus far.

Thanks for the response.

I am aware that philosophy is a manner of thinking, but so is language . . . sometimes, the two can be hard to separate. I was trying to say that while the phrase “I think, therefore I am” seems to have logical consequences, it seems to me that it has more to do with self-reflection than with any kind of complex philosophical analysis. It has to do with concepts being true by definition rather than by deduction or induction, the point being that anything that thinks by definition has to exist. This looks like a deductive argument, given that we can form a chain of deductive arguments leading from existance to having a body to having neurons to having a brain to having a cerebral cortex - or something like that - but in terms of the English language, that whole set of deductions is skipped over and the words themselves define what they’re talking about. Therefore, true by definition.

If that makes any kind of sense.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Language is the result of thought, trying to separate the two will only lead to confusion as the former cannot exist without the latter.

Self reflections are the most complex of philosophical analysis.

As for the deductive argument that is “I think, therefore I am,” existance does not stop just because one’s awareness of it does (such as sleeping), and exists before awareness as well, so is not complete. Whereas my suppostion, “I am, therefore I think” seems true in all situations, and I think this assertion is both inductive and deductive.

If induction and deduction are two sides of the same function that is reason as I theorize, this invalidates descartes’ position, and also resolves the problem of induction. As it means that induction, and deduction, are each incomplete without the other.

[ Edited: 25 June 2011 04:03 PM by Stormy Fairweather ]
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Posted: 25 June 2011 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 11:39 AM

Considering that thinking is the only way to understand, or identify, any concept, I would contest that does logically follow.

If you think that it logically follows, you don’t know what ‘logically follows’ means.

Stormy Fairweather - 25 June 2011 11:39 AM

I am familiar with the definitions, doug. Don’t get stuck on what others have thought/said before. Learn it, use it, then think on what might be better.

Given what I’ve read in this thread, I don’t believe you are familiar with the definitions. And don’t be so quick to think you are better at figuring things out than people who have gone before. First try to learn what they’ve said. The mere fact that they are not you is not sufficient to prove them wrong.

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