Induction, Probability, and Skepticism

By D. P. Chattopadhyaya

Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791406823, 448 pages, August 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406816, 448 pages, August 1991

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Table of contents


1. Induction, Probability, and Uncertainty


1. Cognitive Expansion and Uncertainty
2. Evidence, Acceptance, and Probability
3. Induction, Probablility Calculation, and Rationality of Belief and Decision
4. Carnap's View of Inductive Logic: A Critical Review
5. Noninductive Rationality of Science: Popper on Basic Statements
6. Induction without Justification: Ayer and Strawson


2. Can Induction Be Justified?


1. Different Formulations of the Problem of Induction
2. Is Induction Not Inductively Justifiable? Donald Williams's Defense and Sample Induction
3. Harrod's Defense of Induction
4. Induction and Discovery: Mill, Whewell, and Jevons


3. Probabilistic Justifications of Induction


1. From Inductive to Probabilistic Justifications
2. From the Basis of Experience to Beyond It
3. From Demonstration to Probabilification: Keynes's Position Examined
4. Examination of Reichenbach's Frequency Interpretation of Probability and the Predictionist Justification of Induction
5. Carnap's Concept of Confirmation: A Review


4. Probable Knowledge: Confirmation and Correction


1. Reason and Experience in Induction
2. Biology and Psychology of Learning and Quine on the Justification of Induction
3. Popper's Antifoundationalism and Quine's Rejection of First Philosophy: Their Agreement and Difference
4. Inductive Ascent: Description of State, Structure, and Constituent in Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Hintikka
5. The Popper-Carnap Controversy on Induction and Probability and Conflation Issues
6. Self-Corrective Induction of Peirce and Reichenbach and Popper's Concept of Truth Approximation through the Method of Trial and Error
7. Popper and Carnap on Empirical Content
8. The Popper-Carnap Controversy as a New Case Study of the Ongoing Theory-Practice Dialectic
9. Induction, Probability, and Deduction: Relation without Confrontation and None beyond Question
10. Different Senses of Knowledge and Different Forms of Its Presentation


5. What Is Wrong with Skepticism?


1. Different Senses of Skepticism
2. Skepticism: Radical, Philosophical, Practical, and Universal
3. Different Forms of Skepticism and Different Ways of Meeting Their Challenge
4. Two Ways of Meeting the Challenge: Cartesian and Kantian
5. On the Alleged Uncritical Character of the Antiskeptical Methods


6. Husserl and Popper on Skepticism: Some Problems


1. Antipresuppostitionalist and Antireductionist Program of Phenomenology
2. Kant's Influence on Husserl and Popper:Their Points of Agreement and Difference
3. Popper and Watkins on Basic Statements: A Short Critique
4. Popper and Quine on Realism and Instrumentalism: Where Their Agreements Are Substantive and Differences Secondary
5. The Idealist and the Realist Ways of Meeting the Challenges of Skepticism: Some Western and Indian Views


7. For and Against Skepticism: Moore and Wittgenstein


1. Moore's Criticism of the British Empirical Idealism and the Alleged Self-Refuting Character of Solipsism and Skepticism
2. Different Forms of Realism and Moore's Proof of External Realism
3. The Variety of Uses of the Term Know and the Resulting Difficulty of Removing "Doubt"
4. Social Contract Theory of Meaning and Wittgenstein's Critique of Moore's Antiskepticism
5. The Infirmities of Moore's Proof of an External Realism or World
6. Ways of Understanding Wittgenstein's Prorelativistic Antiskepticism
7. Where Wittgenstein Stands Close to Moore on the Point of Antiskepticism
8. The Point of Continuity between Two Phases of Wittgenstein's Approach to Skepticism


8. Examination of Some Views on Skepticism


1. Different Forms of Language and Their Strength and Weakness, and How Well-Founded Are the Foundations of Mathematics as Language?
2. On the Nature of Language and Human Knowledge of the World: Some Indian and Western Theories
3. Is Knowledge Certain? Hume's Question and Kant's Answer; Quine's Question
4. Quine's Question Extended from Epistemology to Ethics: Some Indian Views Recalled in This Context
5. Is Skepticism Inherent in Theory or Practice? Can Naturalism or Reductionaism Show a Way Out or Must One Accept the Third (Scheme-Content) Dogma or Empiricism?
6. The Primacy of Practice over Theory, of Observational Language over Theoretical Language, and the Relevance of theIssue to Combat Skepticism
7. Relative Strength and Weakness of Somatology, Psychology, and Sociology in Understanding and Containing Skepticism
8. How is Skepticism in Its Nonpejorative Sense Native to Human Nature?
9. From Somatology to Sociology of Knowledge: from Experience beyond Experience
10. Where Lies the Strength of the Repeatedly Refuted Skepticism?
11. How Is Experience Both Generative and Curative of Doubt?


9. Hegel and Heidegger on Skepticism: Some Problems


1. Two Aspects of Experience: Evidential and Explorative
2. Hegel on the Dialectical Character of Experience: Self-Affirming and Self-Negating
3. Heidegger on Hegel's Experience of Consciousness or Phenomenology of Spirit: The Limitations and Transcendence of Experience
4. Life of Skepsis and the Ascending Shapes of Consciousness; Truth as Being-in-Itself and Knowledge as Being-For-Us; Skepsis as the Dialectic between the "Already" (Natural) and the "Not Yet" (Transcendental)
5. Experience as Engaged in Its Search for Truth Is Naturally Skeptical
6. Truth Is Our Incomplete and Historical Self-Disclosure: How Incompleteness and Histority Instead of Destroying or Obscuring Truth Foster the Spirit of Quest for It
7. Life, Death, Authenticity, and Truth: A Reconstruction
8. Hegel's Defense of (Historical) Experience of (Transcendental) Consciousness, Marked by Skepsis and the Cunning of Reason; Heidegger beyond Hegel; Transcendence as Human and without the Absolute


10. The Antiskeptical Ontology of Kant and Hegel and the Proskeptical Thesis of Duhem and Quine


1. Different and Conflicting Notions of Knowledge: "Knowledge" and the Realm of Doubt Considered from the Anthropological and Theological Points of View
2. Skepticism's Different Facets and Construals
3. Are the Unitarian Approaches to Knowledge Necessarily Antiskeptical in Their Inspiration?
4. Is Human Knowledge Bound to Be Skeptical? Why is God's Knowledge Claimed to Ne Doubt Free? Knowledge without God: Epistemology without Theology
5. Doing Away with the Analytic-Synthetic and Physics-Metaphysics Distinctions; Methodological and Ontological Holism
6. Skepticism Pertaining to Natural Law Statements: Nomic and Accidental Necessity and the Inductive or Deductive Method to Substantiate the Certainty Claim
7. Law Statements in the Light of Quantum Mechanics: Realism and Probabilism; Reichenbach's Interpretation of Alternative (Not Dualistic) Descriptions; Evidential Indeterminacy and Holism from Reichenbach to Quine
8. Why Crucial Experiments Fail to Be Crucial? The Points of Agreement and Difference between Duhem and Quine


11. Between Dogmatism and Skepticism


1. Dogmatism and Skepticism as Two Different Moods or Stances of (Otherwise) Normal and Rational Human Beings
2. Different Meanings of Doubt: Epistemological and Ontological Issues
3. How Practical Dogma and Theoretical Doubt Go Together: Hume, Kant, and Buddha
4. Interpretations of Kant by Modern Neo-Kantians; Husserl's Kantian Insights; Implications of Husserl's Foundationalism
5. The Positive Aspect of Doubt


12. Skepticism as the Critique of Search: An Epilogue


1. Different Forma of Inference and Learning: The Complex Character of the Ways of Knowing
2. Induction, Deduction, and Certainty; Logic, Knowledge, and Postulation
3. Fluxist Ontology and Skeptic Epistemology: Coherentism and Correspondence; Ontological Realism and Epistemological Skepticism; Nature and the Problems of Theorization; the Induction and Biology of Learning
4. The Human Mind and the Certainty of Knowledge: Evidence, Skepticism, and Foundationalism
5. Constructive Skepticism Defended




In this book, Chattopadhyaya examines the epistemological and methodological implications of induction and probability. Opposed to foundationalism and the thesis of certainty of human knowledge, he has defended a qualified form of fallibilism and constructive kind of skepticism.

D. P. Chattopadhyaya is Professor of Philosophy, Jadavpur University, Calcutta. The author of thirteen books and over eighty articles, he was a past President of Indian Philosophical Congress. He is Chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), and President of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Among his books are Individuals and Societies: A Methodological Inquiry; Individuals and Worlds: Essays in Anthropological Rationalism; Human Meanings and Existences; Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx; Knowledge, Freedom, and Language; and Anthropology and Historiography of Science.


"The book is extremely thorough, a genuine tour de force. The author covers all the major contemporary and historical positions on induction, fallibility in knowlege, probabilism, skepticism, foundationalism, and anti-foundationalism—all with extraordinary rigor and depth of insight. Even major non-Western logicians and philosophers are included. Moreover, the treatment is entirely anti-dogmatic, neutral, and non-sectarian: Heidegger, Sartre, Husserl, and Hegel, for example, are accorded as balanced and thorough a review and critical consideration as are Popper, Hume, Russell, Carnap, and Quine. This is truly a remarkable achievement. " —George R. Lucas, Jr. , National Endowment for the Humanities

"I like the intellectual command of so many sources, and the way Indian sources are used. I like the open and judicious handling of every debatable topic—and they comprise the list of empiricism's failures. I like the dignity of the writing style which is clear, measured, and austere, but also lofty, rhythmic, and with a fine cadence. This is a book of very high quality. Its author is a great and experienced philosopher who has integrated in his person the spiritual quality of Indian philosophy with the logical precision of the British tradition in which he was educated. This is an outstanding work by India's foremost philosopher. " —Patrick A. Heelan, State University of New York at Stony Brook