Goodman and the Project of a Constructional Definition of “Valid Induction”
In Fact, Fiction and Forecast, Nelson Goodman claims that the problem of justifying induction is not something over and above the problem of describing valid induction. Such claim seems to open up the possibility that the new riddle of induction could be addressed empirically. Discoveries about psychological preferences for projecting certain classes of objects could function as a criterion for determining which predicates are after all projectible. In this paper, I argue that Goodman’s claim must be construed within his project for constructional definitions, which is methodologically oriented by reflective equilibrium. The description of inductive practice is committed to the articulation of the extension of the class selected by the predicate ‘valid induction’. The mutual adjustment between theoretical considerations and inductive practice involved in the proposal of a definition of ‘valid induction’ must preserve that practice as much as possible, there is no way to get rid of entrenchment. Empirical discoveries about the psychological mechanism that underlies projections may help that adjustment but they cannot substitute the role played by the entrenchment of predicates.
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