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uniformity of nature


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

M etaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science A principle claiming that nature is uniform and that consequently the future will resemble the past and that generalizations holding for observed cases will apply to unobserved cases so long as the background conditions remain sufficiently similar. In traditional epistemology , Francis Bacon and J. S. Mill assumed the principle to be the ground for the validity of inductive reasoning and scientific predictions. The aim of science is to find uniformity. But Hume argued that the principle can only be justified by induction and thus that justifying induction by appeal to the principle involves vicious circularity or question-begging. Popper , in his rejection of inductive method, claimed that the uniformity of nature is a matter of faith. “The belief in the uniformity of nature is the belief that everything that has happened or will happen is an instance of some general law to which there are no exceptions.” Russell, The Problems of Philosophy ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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