Open Access

Necessarily the Old Riddle Necessary Connections and the Problem of Induction


In this paper, I will discuss accounts to solve the problem of induction by introducing necessary connections. The basic idea is this: if we know that there are necessary connections between properties F and G such that F -ness necessarily brings about G-ness, then we are justified to infer that all, including future or unobserved, F s will be Gs. To solve the problem of induction with ontology has been proposed by David Armstrong and Brian Ellis. In this paper, I will argue that these attempts to solve the problem of induction fail. Necessary connections fail to reliably imply the respective regularities for two main reasons: Firstly, according to an argument originally presented by Helen Beebee, the respective necessary connections might be time-limited, and hence do not warrant inferences about future cases. As I will discuss, arguments against the possibility or explanatory power of time-limited necessary connections fail. Secondly, even time-unlimited necessary connections do not entail strict or non-strict regularities, and nor do they allow inferences about individual cases, which is an important function of inductive reasoning. Moreover, the proposed solution to the problem of induction would only apply to a tiny minority of inductive inferences. I argue that most inductive inferences are not easily reducible to the proposed inference pattern, as the vast majority of everyday inductive inferences do not involve necessary connections between fundamental physical properties or essences.

English, Portuguese
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Philosophy, Selected Philosophical Movements, Analytical Philosophy