Essay on Max Black and Humean Skepticism

Essay on Max Black and Humean Skepticism

Length: 1546 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Max Black and Humean Skepticism

In this essay I will argue that the Humean problem of induction is only truly problematic when a strange, impossible definition is given to the term “reasonable”. I will begin by explaining what it is I understand Hume’s induction problem to be, and to try to flesh out the issues relevant to my case. I will then examine Max Black’s proposed solution to the problem, and show in what ways this solution is useful and why it is ultimately unconvincing. In this latter context I will invoke the work of Wesley Salmon, and then try to solve the problem that Salmon poses.

Hume’s problem of induction is that inductive reasoning is not, in fact, reasonable. That is, we are not justified in reasoning inductively. This is because he believes that, in order to justify induction, we must use some form of the Uniformity Principle. This Uniformity Principle (henceforth noted as UP) states “[t]hat instances, of which we have had no experience, must resemble those, of which we have had experience, and that the course of nature continues always uniformly the same” (Hume 89). He also believes that “we must provide one of two types of justification for UP: (a) Show that UP is the conclusion of a deductive argument, or (b) show that UP is based on experience” (Crumley 15). He shows that it is not possible to prove this principle deductively because of problems of circularity, and that to show that it is based on experience is to be similarly circular. That is, providing evidence for something and using this as a justification for a believe is precisely what induction is all about, and so one ends up justifying induction through induction. (Crumley 14-16)

The first me...

... middle of paper ... only really problematic when an unpalatable and unattainable definition of “reasonable” is used. I have shown that Black provides a good start to the problem, but that his solution is ultimately unconvincing to skeptics of induction. And I’ve attempted to address the problem that Salmon brings up; that is, I’ve attempted to show that it is improper and non-valuable to try to provide reasons for induction. My conclusion, then, is that as long as being reasonable is something that is possible to be, humans are, in fact, reasonable.

Works Cited

1. Black, Max. Caveats and Critiques. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1975.

2. Crumley, Jack S II. An Introduction to Epistemology. Mountain View, California: Mayfield, 1999.

3. Salmon, Wesley. “Should We Attempt to Justify Induction?” Philosophical Studies 8 (April 1957): 33-48.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Effects of Deweyan and Humean on the Conception of Knowledge at State University

- Little did I know the first day I arrived at Michigan but the contemporary conception of knowledge which pervades the university is a mixture of Deweyan and Humean thought. This becomes increasingly clear to me when I look back on some of my classes and activities at Michigan. For instance, the university prides itself on constantly trying to promote progress and improvement throughout society, which is very Deweyan. Michigan epitomizes the saying that "growth itself is the only moral end" (Dewey 177)....   [tags: Deweyan and Humean thought]

Powerful Essays
1600 words (4.6 pages)

Max Wilson Woodard Biography Essay

- Max Wilson Woodard Biography He was born in Palestine, Texas to the parentage of Clyde Burette Woodard and Marye Regina (McClung) Woodard at 9:45 AM at the Palestine Sanatarium. His parents lived in Elkhart, Texas where his father was the owner and operator of Woodard Cleaners and his mother, Bubbie, as he called her, was the owner and operator of a beauty shop. 1938-1941 His first dog was an English Shepard named Rex, who was a one man dog and his constant traveling companion. Beginning at about age three, he and his dog Rex had an insatiable desire to explore any place that was outside the house and within walking distance....   [tags: Max Woodard Biography]

Powerful Essays
1499 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Max Weber And The Bureaucratic System

- Max Weber advanced six points that should be present in the bureaucratic system. He believed that a bureaucratic administration was carefully run it could lead to effective decision-making, the best use of resources, and the accomplishment of organization’s goals. Weber wrote that politics, and more broadly, public administration, should be viewed as a vocation rather than a job. A vocation something that you feel very passionate about, some people might even say it is what you were born to do. A vocation allows you to use your skills in combination with your interest in a work situation where you feel you are most able to effect change....   [tags: Management, Bureaucracy, Sociology, Max Weber]

Powerful Essays
801 words (2.3 pages)

Max Weber : Democracy And Capitalism Essay

- Max Weber (1864-1920), a prominent theorist of social science, had already witnessed both democracy and capitalism unfold and function in both Europe and the United States when he began writing at the turn of the 20th century. He followed in the footsteps of other social scientists and scholars such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Darwin, and Emile Durkheim who had all produced literary works in the 19th century. In 1905, while writing The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and pondering the effects of a “modern market economy” on the future of democracy, Weber asked, “How are freedom and democracy in the long run at all possible under the domination of highly developed...   [tags: Capitalism, Karl Marx, Sociology, Max Weber]

Powerful Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Karl Marx And Max Weber

- Karl Marx and Max Weber are two of the most significant and influential theorists and sociologists of the 19th century. Both examined very similar ideas but had very different conclusions and are now famously known as ‘The Founding Fathers of Sociology’. One of the Crucial contributions to sociology is both sociologists views and findings on class and equality. Karl Marx found that class was categorised by the means of production. Almost half a century later Max Weber contrasted, class was based on three things Power, Wealth, And Prestige....   [tags: Sociology, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Marxism]

Powerful Essays
1333 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Karl Marx And Max Weber

- Karl Marx and Max Weber, were two great social scientists, who devoted much of their work to the defining of capitalism through understanding its creation, causes, workings, and destiny. In their evaluations of capitalism they arrive at two distinct conclusion caused by similar and distinctly different factors. Though Marx and Weber apply the concept of specialization in very different ways, the implementation and consequences specialization have much in common. What is important about these two sociologist is that they both studied the same and one capitalism but their approach is miles apart from each other and have reached on totally different conclusions....   [tags: Capitalism, Marxism, Max Weber, Karl Marx]

Powerful Essays
1207 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Max Weber 's Theory Of Society

- Central Thesis: Max Weber had several major themes in his theory of society: 1. He believed Religion and Class were the key dynamic factors that influence society. 2. Class and Inequality: Class, Status and Power. He argued that social inequality in modern society was more complicated than this. Second, He argues that differences in the amount of social power or status differences are also important aspects of inequality in modern societies. Lastly, Weber believed that modern society was dominated, not only by owners of capital, but also by those with political power....   [tags: Sociology, Max Weber, Social stratification]

Powerful Essays
985 words (2.8 pages)

Max Weber on Society Essay

- Max Weber on Society Max Weber was one of the world's greatest sociologists and wrote a lot about the capitalist world he lived in. He had a different conception of capitalist society than most of his contemporaries. He looked at capitalism from all the different aspects that the philosophy was made of. Some of these aspects are state power, authority, class inequality, imperialism, and bureaucracy. To understand how Weber thought one must look at each area separately then put them all together in a global package....   [tags: Max Weber sociology sociological Essays]

Powerful Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

Skepticism Essay

- Skepticism Skepticism is the Western philosophical tradition that maintains that human beings can never arrive at any kind of certain knowledge. Originating in Greece in the middle of the fourth century BC, skepticism and its derivatives are based on the following principles: There is no such thing as certainty in human knowledge. All human knowledge is only probably true, that is, true most of the time, or not true. Several non-Western cultures have skeptical traditions, particularly Buddhist philosophy, but properly speaking, skepticism refers only to a Greek philosophical tradition and its Greek, Roman, and European derivatives....   [tags: Skeptic philosophy philosophers]

Powerful Essays
1132 words (3.2 pages)

Skepticism Essay

- Skepticism You believe something, but you don't know it. So do you really know anything. Some believe the answer lies within the arguments of skepticism. I start by analyzing the argument from perspective. Do you believe that what you see is what it is. Let's say you and I are sitting on the couch looking at a picture on the wall. We both have different opinions of what we are looking at. And there's more to the picture than what we really see. Many factors impel us to have different opinions....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
477 words (1.4 pages)