Friday, July 12, 2019

10 Year Anniversary!

I can't believe it's been 10 years since I started Inductive Quest!

This blog's content has shifted along with my attention and focus over the years, so thank you to those who've stuck it out over the years to learn my thoughts on the topic of induction.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

William Whewell’s “Discoverer’s Induction” (Part 4)

Previous posts: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) 
William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2)
William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 3)

Induction as a True Colligation of Facts

Colligation and Induction

William Whewell’s theory of induction and of scientific methodology centers on the explication of conceptions and on the colligation of facts. Induction for him is mainly about what facts, propositions, definitions, and ideas we can draw out of our conceptions, and about how to find new and more productive ways to bind these elements up into a more exact, more appropriate conception. The ancient and prevailing theory of induction has been that it’s enumerative: a general statement or proposition that is applied to a collection of instances.

Friday, July 5, 2019

William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 3)


The Structure of Knowledge

Before Whewell can fully articulate the details of how induction works in scientific methodology and in theory-formation, he needs to explain several related issues. He has to express his views on the source(s) of knowledge, on how knowledge builds up, and on how we can justify what we’ve learned. In short, he has to first construct his epistemology (theory of knowledge) to then discuss how his theory of induction builds on that foundation. In Part 3 of this series on Whewell, we will cover his controversial notion of fundamental ideas, on how we produce conceptions and the complementary processes of explication and colligation.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2)


The Fundamental Antithesis of Philosophy

The purpose of the Philosophy was the determinations of both the nature and the conditions of human knowledge (Philosophy I, 16). His theory of induction was framed as a part of the full articulation of the dimensions and powers of knowledge. But before Whewell could present his theory of induction to the reader, he wanted them to wrap their heads around a foundational issue, a division of knowledge at the base of science, of philosophy and of human life itself. This was the dual nature of knowledge, which he termed the “fundamental antithesis of philosophy.”