7. Do you have any good reason to expect that the sun will rise tomorrow?
(i) State clearly and precisely just what an inductive inference is. Give an example (of your own).
(ii) Clearly and precisely explain Hume’s argument that no inductive inference ever has any rational justification. (This is Hume’s ‘problem of induction’, set out in his section 4 of his Enquiry.)
(iii) Present a reasoned evaluation of that argument. Is Hume right that there could be no rationally justifiable inductive inference? Why or why not?
8. “All events seem entirely loose and separate. One event follows another; but we never can observe any tye between them. They seem conjoined, but never connected. And as we can have no idea of any thing, which never appeared to our outward sense or inward sentiment, the necessary conclusion seems to be, that we have no idea of connexion or power at all, and that these words are absolutely without any meaning, when employed either in philosophical reasonings, or common life.” (EHU 7.26)
(i) Explain what Hume’s thesis is in this excerpt.
(ii) Why do you think that he stresses the word “seems” like this (in the phrase “the necessary
conclusion seems to be”)?
(iii) Reconstruct Hume’s argument for the thesis stated here.
(iv) Do you find this argument persuasive? Explain why or why not.
9. In Hume’s Dialogues, the character Cleanthes argues as follows: “The curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance; of human design, thought, wisdom, and intelligence. Since therefore the effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man; though possessed of much larger faculties, proportioned to the grandeur of the work, which he has executed. By this argument a posteriori, and by this argument alone, do we prove at once the existence of a Deity, and his similarity to human mind and intelligence.” (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion 2.5)
(i) Clearly and precisely reconstruct Cleanthes’s design argument. What exactly is the argument supposed to prove and how is it supposed to work?
(ii) What do you think are the one or two most plausible-sounding objections to this argument introduced by Hume’s characters in the Dialogues? How exactly is (are) this (these) objection(s) supposed to sink the argument?
(iii) Use these objections to develop a reasoned evaluation of Cleanthes’s argument. Is the argument from design sunk, or can it be successfully defended in the face of this objection (these objections)?
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