Monday, September 28, 2020

Presuppositionalism and Induction

Presuppositionalists who raise the problem of induction as a debating point in their encounters with non-theists, typically point to the uniformity of nature as the key issue to unlocking and solving the problem. After all, say the presuppositionalists, if nature were not uniform, then we’d have no basis for supposing that the future will resemble the past, which would throw induction under the bus.

In fact, the uniformity of nature is only one of several key issues, and, I’d argue, not the critical one. Even if nature is uniform, this alone would not explain how we know it’s uniform, nor would it explain what the human mind does when drawing inductive generalizations. Indeed, the Objectivist view is that nature is uniform regardless of what anyone thinks, believes, knows, prefers, hopes, etc. It’s something we discover, but this is only the beginning, not the end of explaining induction. After all, if nature is uniform, it’s not uniform only in my experience, but also in my cat’s experience. However, my cat will never draw the general conclusion that touching hot stovetops will result in a painful burn. But I can. Surely there’s more to the issue than merely “here’s why the assumption that nature is uniform is justified.”