Projectibility and Explainability or How to Draw a New Picture of Inductive Practices
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Goodman published his “riddle” in the middle of the 20th century and many philosophers have attempted to solve it. These attempts almost all shared an assumption that, I shall argue, might be wrong, namely, the assumption that when we project from cases we have examined to cases we have not, what we project are predicates (and that this projectibility is an absolute property of some predicates). I shall argue that this assumption, shared by almost all attempts at a solution, looks wrong, because, in the first place, what we project are generalizations and not predicates, and a generalization is projectible (or unprojectible) relative to a given context. In this paper I develop the idea of explainable–projectible generalizations versus unexplainable–unprojectible generalizations, relative to a specific context. My main claim is that we rationally project a generalization if and only if we rationally believe that there is something that explains the general phenomenon that the generalized statement in question asserts to obtain, and that a generalization is projectible, if and only if its putative truth can be explained, whether we know that it can be or not.
Keywordsinduction the new riddle of induction projectibility web of belief
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