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Popper and Induction

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    ReputationRep:
    Hi just a quick one that has been bugging me.

    I know that inductive reasoning is not all that solid even in strong form. I think it was David Hume who first objected to induction? Is that right?

    So when Popper proposed his criteria of falsifiability to solve the demarcation problem, was this his attempt to bypass the inductive method in scientific reasoning also?

    Inductive reasoning would say:

    All swans ever observed by science have been white

    So

    It is a general law that all swans are white

    Popper would say:

    We can try and falsify that theory by looking for more swans and observing their color, but we must deny such a general law exists, rather it is rather to be considered our best guess, until such time as we find a non-white swan and it is falsified.

    So this gets around having to rely on induction, and we must live with doubt about our general laws?

    But the problem is that even innocuous observations such as observing the colour of swans, are theory laden and so products of other processes of induction? Is this right?
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    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by snozzle)
    Hi just a quick one that has been bugging me.

    I know that inductive reasoning is not all that solid even in strong form. I think it was David Hume who first objected to induction? Is that right?

    So when Popper proposed his criteria of falsifiability to solve the demarcation problem, was this his attempt to bypass the inductive method in scientific reasoning also?

    Inductive reasoning would say:

    All swans ever observed by science have been white

    So

    It is a general law that all swans are white

    Popper would say:

    We can try and falsify that theory by looking for more swans and observing their color, but we must deny such a general law exists, rather it is rather to be considered our best guess, until such time as we find a non-white swan and it is falsified.

    So this gets around having to rely on induction, and we must live with doubt about our general laws?

    But the problem is that even innocuous observations such as observing the colour of swans, are theory laden and so products of other processes of induction? Is this right?
    Popper's falsificationism was an attempt to show how science wasn't really inductive at all, yes. It has various failings and is pretty unanimously rejected nowadays, though.

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