Tag Archives: problem of induction

C. D. Broad

[D]id Bacon provide any logical justification for the principles and methods which he elicited and which scientists assume and use? He did not, and he never saw that it was necessary to do so. There is a skeleton in the cupboard of Inductive Logic, which Bacon never suspected and Hume first exposed to view. Kant conducted the most elaborate funeral in history, and called Heaven and Earth and the Noumena under the Earth to witness that the skeleton was finally disposed of. But, when the dust of the funeral procession had subsided and the last strains of the Transcendental Organ had died away, the coffin was found to be empty and the skeleton in its old place. Mill discretely closed the door of the cupboard, and with infinite tact turned the conversation into mote cheerful channels. Mr Johnson and Mr Keynes may fairly be said to have reduced the skeleton to the dimensions of a mere skull. But that obstinate caput mortuum still awaits the undertaker who will give it Christian burial. May we venture to hope that when Bacon’s next centenary is celebrated the great work which he set going will be completed; and that Inductive Reasoning, which has long been the glory of Science, will have ceased to be the scandal of Philosophy?

C. D. Broad, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon, an address delivered at Cambridge on the occasion of the Bacon Tercentenary, 5 October 1926, Cambridge, 1926, pp. 66–67

Paul Feyerabend

You [Lakatos] say that Sir K just messed up Hume’s problem. This is precisely what Schrödinger said, and I was there when he said it. It is a very interesting story. Karl wanted to dedicate the English edition of the Logic of Sci. etc. to Schrödinger. He had never given the book to Schrödinger to read and wanted to know, desperately, what he thought of it. Karl was sitting at the Böglerhof, Schrödinger was at another restaurant in Alpbach, in a very bad temper: “This Popper! There he gives me this confused book of his and wants me to consent to have my name on the first page. He says he does something about Hume’s problem – but he doesn’t, he just talks, and talks, and talks, and Hume’s problem is still unsolved”. So I tried to explain to him the difference between the problem of demarcation and the problem of induction. “Yes, yes,” he said, “I know, he solves the one BUT HE DOESN’T SOLVE THE OTHER and that is just what Hume said, that it couldn’t be solved…” etc. etc

Paul Feyerabend, Letter to Imre Lakatos, January 11, 1974, in Matteo Motterlini (ed.), For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence, Chicago, 1999, p. 353