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J.S. Mill’s Canons of Induction: from True Causes to Provisional Ones

Ducheyne, Steffen (2008) J.S. Mill’s Canons of Induction: from True Causes to Provisional Ones. [Preprint]


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In this essay, my aim is twofold: to clarify how the late Mill conceived of the certainty of inductive generalizations and to offer a systematic clarification of the limited domain of application of the Mill’s Canons of Induction. I shall argue that Mill’s views on the certainty of knowledge changed overtime and that this change was accompanied by a new view on the certainty of the inductive results yielded by the Canons of Induction. The key message of the later editions of The System of Logic as conceived by the late Mill was no longer that by the Canons of Induction we can establish scientific certainty and true causes, but rather that the Canons are useful in establishing causal laws in a provisional way.

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Item Type: Preprint
Ducheyne, Steffen
Additional Information: Note: this is a preprint of a paper of mine that is forthcoming in History and Philosophy of Logic. It is not at all meant to replace the origin. This preprint mustn’t be quoted, only quote from the final version.
Keywords: J.S. Mill, (canons of) induction, inductive inference, history of philosophy of science
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Depositing User: Steffen Ducheyne
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:17
Item ID: 4236

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