Proving Induction


  • Alexander Paseau Wadham College, Oxford University



The hard problem of induction is to argue without begging the question that inductive inference, applied properly in the proper circumstances, is conducive to truth. A recent theorem seems to show that the hard problem has a deductive solution. The theorem, provable in ZFC, states that a predictive function M exists with the following property: whatever world we live in, M ncorrectly predicts the world’s present state given its previous states at all times apart from a well-ordered subset. On the usual model of time a well-ordered subset is small relative to the set of all times. M’s existence therefore seems to provide a solution to the hard problem. My paper argues for two conclusions. First, the theorem does not solve the hard problem of induction. More positively though, it solves a version of the problem in which the structure of time is given modulo our choice of set theory.


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Author Biography

Alexander Paseau, Wadham College, Oxford University