How to solve the problem of induction (My most important contribution to philosophy)

Vincent van Gogh, Enclosed Field with Rising Sun

Solving the problem of induction.

Are we justified to infer the universal from the particular? If all the swans that we see are white, are we justified to believe that all swans are white? That is the problem of induction.[1]

How to solve it?

If a swan cannot be different than white and we know it and, given our question, all the swans that we see are white, then we are justified to infer the truth that all swans are white (induction);[2] otherwise, we are not justified –but if we assume that all swans are white and see a single black swan, we will falsify the assumption and also discover the truth that not all swans are white;[3] that is popperian falsification; and once our assumption is falsified, it will always be falsified (induction by falsification). As we can see, they are either all the same or not; but no matter how they are, we can generalize without mistake.

We can make two mistakes here: One is to believe that they are not all the same when they are all the same and the other is to believe that they are all the same when they are not all the same.[4]

As in this case, proceed in all the cases.

The problem of induction is solved.

Postscript: Solving the problem of induction is a progress in reasoning, rather than in knowledge.

[1] Many philosophers consider it.

As Nassim Taleb said, the problem of induction is not David Hume’s problem, but Sextus Empiricus’.

[2] And the truth is absolute.

[3] For Nassim Taleb, we can discover the truth by falsification.

And the truth that we discover by falsification is absolute.

[4] Those who study errors may be familiar with them.




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Tudor Călin Rațiu

Tudor Călin Rațiu

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