The traditional problem of induction was popularized by David Hume and it reamined quite traditional until Nelson Goodman proposed a new problem which he called “the new riddle of induction” as expressed in the third chapter of Fact, Fiction and Forecast…
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The traditional problem of induction was popularized by David Hume and it reamined quite traditional until Nelson Goodman proposed a new problem which he called “the new riddle of induction” as expressed in the third chapter of Fact, Fiction and Forecast.
By the new riddle of induction Goodman put forward a claim that not all generalizations are confirmed by their instances. In other words “confirmation of a hypothesis by an instance depends rather heavily upon the features of the hypothesis other than its syntatical form” (72). He distinguished the lawlike (that a given piece of copper conducts electricity increases the credibility of the statement asserting that other pieces of copper conducts electricity, and thus confirms the hypothesis that all copper conducts electricity) and accidental (that a given man now in this room is a third son does not increase the credibility of the statement asserting that other men now in this room are third sons and so does not confirm the hypothesis that all men now in this room are third sons) statements. Yet, both are cases in which the hypothesis is a generalization of the evident statement. Thus, Goodman argued: “only a statement that is lawlike – regardless of its truth or falsity or its scientific importance – is capable of recieviing confirmation from an instance of it; accidental statements are not” (73). As such, there is need for a way of plainly distinguishing the lawlike from the accidental statements. However, the problem of induction goes beyond merely trying to exclude a few cases that are admitted by our definition of confirmation. Hence, Goodman proposed a new predicate, “grue.”
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