Persuasive Paper on Hume's Problem of Induction (2160 words)

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Question

Write a persuasive paper in response to the following prompt:

Hume's problem is usefully divided in two.

1st - the descriptive problem: How do human beings form opinions about unobserved matters fact?

2nd - the normative problem: Are beliefs formed in this way justified? Does someone who "reasons" as we normally do really have reason to believe his conclusions about the parts of nature he has not observed?

ASSIGNMENT:                                                                              

1)    Understand/describe the problem of induction -- the descriptive and normative problem above.
2)    Write a persuasive paper detailing how we can or cannot learn

REQUIREMENTS:

1)      MLA-style, size-12 font, Times New Roman, Works Cited page
2)      1,500 to 2,500 words
3)      At least five supports/citations from at least three sources

Solution Preview

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The driving idea of this paper is Hume’s purported contention that causal, inductive reasoning is not justified, that it can be shown that such reasoning is given to moving from true beliefs to a true conclusion. In the discussion that follows, I first present Hume’s descriptive account of how we—humans—form beliefs about unobserved things and events via predictions based on experience of the constant conjunction of “causes” and “effects”. I then present Hume’s case against the normative justification of causal reasoning, his Problem of Induction. In the paper’s third and final section, I attempt to counter Hume’s argument, in particular by arguing for the non-circularity of the use of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature.

THE DESCRIPTIVE ASPECT
Pivotal to understanding Hume’s problem of induction is first grasping how it results from Hume’s thoughts on causation, in particular his account of our perception and apprehension of cause and effect. Hume’s account seems to most often be presented by way of billiard balls striking one another, but it isn’t clear that the account hinges on the content or type of example chosen. Other sports may be just as instructive; suppose we see on television one of those close-up shots sometimes shown during golf presentations – a club head swings into frame, crashes into a golf ball that is then distorted beyond imagination...

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