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In cases like these, the animal’s brain is making an inductive inference.If we couldn’t use inductive reasoning, we wouldn’t survive a single day.
But the Scottish philosopher David Hume pointed out that this was an impossible way to live.
Hume demonstrated that some of our most basic beliefs are based on inductive reasoning: it’s only by induction that we believe the sun will rise tomorrow, or that we have a personal identity that lasts from day to day.
Inductions, specifically, are inferences based on reasonable probability.
If the premise is true, then the conclusion is Often, Inductive reasoning produces a general conclusion from a specific premise.
Notice that this scene has both of the classic attributes of an inductive reasoning: it’s based on probability, not certainty; and it uses specific past experiences to work out a general rule for the future.“Here is a gentleman of the medical type, but with the air of a military man. He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair.
He has undergone hardship and sickness, as his haggard face says clearly.
In the movie, Cartman’s mom is trying to train him not to swear so much.
When other options fail, she sends him to a doctor who sticks an electroshock chip in Cartman’s brain. After a few trials, Cartman inductively infers that swearing will bring pain, and he stops immediately.
Like Chalmers in the first quote, Jevons here is arguing that perfect certainty is impossible in the real world.
We can only have logical certainty when it comes to abstractions, and therefore deductive reasoning will only get us so far — at a certain point, we have to rely on induction to tell us what’s For as long as living things have had brains, they have been making inductive inferences: mice learn to avoid the electrified corner of their cage, inferring probable future events from painful past experience; zebrafish detect small fluctuations in the water and infer (consciously or not) the likely size of an approaching fish through murky water.