An Intuitive Solution to the Problem of Induction


  • Andrew Dennis Bassford University of Texas at Austin; Austin Community College



Problem of Induction, natural kinds, direct realism, substantial forms, contents of perception, concept formation


The subject of this essay is the classical problem of induction, which is sometimes attributed to David Hume and called “the Humean Problem of Induction.” Here, I examine a certain sort of Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem, which appeals to the concept of natural kinds in its response to the inductive skeptic. This position is most notably represented by Howard Sankey and Marc Lange. The purpose of this paper is partly destructive and partly constructive. I raise two questions. The first is: Are the natural kind solutions to the problem successful? The first thesis of this paper is that they are not, and I will show how and why they fail. And the second question I raise here is: Is there nonetheless some alternative Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem which is successful and can overcome the shortcomings endemic to the Sankey-Lange account? The second thesis is that there is, and I’ll attempt to sketch one. My stance here may be summarized by saying that, while I agree with Sankey and Lange that the problem of induction can be adequately resolved, and while I am on the whole sympathetic with the Aristotelian spirit of their account(s), I am, for all that, dissatisfied with the letter of them. Nothing short of a more thoroughgoing Aristotelianism about the epistemology of induction will do.



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