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Hempel's Raven Revisited

Bollhagen, Andrew (2021) Hempel's Raven Revisited. The Journal of Philosophy, CXVIII (3). pp. 113-138. ISSN 0022-362X

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Andrew Bollhagen
The paper takes a novel approach to a classic problem—Hempel’s Raven Paradox. A standard approach to it supposes the solution to consist in bringing our inductive logic into “reflective equilibrium” with our intuitive judgements about which inductive inferences we should license. This approach leaves the intuitions as a kind of black box and takes it on faith that, whatever the structure of the intuitions inside that box might be, it is one for which we can construct an isomorphic formal edifice, a system of inductive logic. By popping open the box we can see whether that faith is misplaced. I aim, therefore, to characterize our pre-theoretical, intuitive understanding of generalizations like “ravens are black” and argue that, intuitively, we take them to mean, for instance: “ravens are black by some indeterminate yet characteristic means.” I motivate and explicate this formulation and bring it to bear on Hempel’s Problem.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: Hempel's Raven Paradox, confirmation, mechanism,
Depositing User: Mr. Andrew Bollhagen
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 19:36
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2021 19:36
Item ID: 19120
Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Philosophy
Publisher: The Journal of Philosophy, Inc
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.5840/jphil2021118310
Date: 5 March 2021
Page Range: pp. 113-138
Volume: CXVIII
Number: 3
ISSN: 0022-362X

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