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Roderick Fitts

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  1. Previous posts: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 3) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 4) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 5) Introduction This final part of my series on Dr. William Whewell will discuss the four tests he believes can determine the veracity and applicability of a true colligation, an induction. I have named these four tests as (1) Deductive Consistency, (2) Prediction of Past and Future Phenomenal Events, (3) Consilience
  2. Previous posts: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 3) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 4) Introduction This penultimate post will cover two of William Whewell’s three steps of induction. These steps are also his general theory of the generation of scientific hypotheses and theories. Whewell believed that these steps of induction are what scientists have followed in some form throughout history to discover and create conceptual knowledge and propel scientif
  3. I can't believe it's been 10 years since I started Inductive Quest! This blog's content has shifted along with my attention and focus over the years, so thank you to those who've stuck it out over the years to learn my thoughts on the topic of induction. Continue...Link to Original
  4. Previous posts: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 3) Induction as a True Colligation of Facts Colligation and Induction William Whewell’s theory of induction and of scientific methodology centers on the explication of conceptions and on the colligation of facts. Induction for him is mainly about what facts, propositions, definitions, and ideas we can draw out of our conceptions, and about how to find new and more productive ways to bind these elements up into a more
  5. Previous posts: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 2) The Structure of Knowledge Before Whewell can fully articulate the details of how induction works in scientific methodology and in theory-formation, he needs to explain several related issues. He has to express his views on the source(s) of knowledge, on how knowledge builds up, and on how we can justify what we’ve learned. In short, he has to first construct his epistemology (theory of knowledge) to then discuss how his theory of induction builds on that foundation.
  6. Previous post: William Whewell's "Discoverer's Induction" (Part 1) The Fundamental Antithesis of Philosophy The purpose of the Philosophy was the determinations of both the nature and the conditions of human knowledge (Philosophy I, 16). His theory of induction was framed as a part of the full articulation of the dimensions and powers of knowledge. But before Whewell could present his theory of induction to the reader, he wanted them to wrap their heads around a foundational issue, a division of knowledge at the base of science, of philosophy and of human life itself. This was the d
  7. Abstract This series will summarize the major elements of William Whewell’s (1792–1866) theory of inductive reasoning, which he termed “Discoverer’s Induction.” Whewell (pronounced “Who-ell”) was a 19-century philosopher of science and a polymath, who believed that the true purpose of science was to form the clearest and most beneficial concepts that we possibly could manage. Continue...Link to Original
  8. A short post on what I plan to do with Inductive Quest in the future. Continue...Link to Original
  9. In the free will-determinism debate, Objectivism stands in rare company with those philosophies that adopt the libertarian view of volition (which is free will considered as incompatible with determinism). Most philosophies embrace one of the alternative theories to libertarian free will: hard determinism, soft determinism (compatibilism), and indeterminism. Responses to the hard and soft versions of determinism will be forthcoming. This current essay will present an overview of the indeterminist perspective on free will. Afterwards an Objectivist response to the indeterminist position will b
  10. The previous essays in this series presented the Objectivist concept of free will, and demonstrated how it operates in the mental and physical realms. In this essay, the Objectivist view of volition will be compared with some past theories of free will. Three broad views of volition will occupy the first half of this paper: free will as the choice of actions, as the choice of motives, and finally, as the choice of ideas. Afterwards, a response will be given to each of these views, pointing out certain missing information or other flaws. The essay’s conclusion will discuss how the Objectivist t
  11. Human action has several forms. Involuntary actions exist, such as reflexes and subconscious prompts like involuntary recall of a memory. In the realm of voluntary action, we’ve established that the primary choices are focus and non-focus (as either drift or evasion). The choice to be completely out of focus prevents a person from carrying out a wealth of other actions that were otherwise possible to them. A mind fully out of focus can merely react passively to whatever stimuli reaches their consciousness. However, the choice to focus opens up endless possibilities, possibilities which can be
  12. In my earlier essay about the perceptual level, I mentioned that the sensory and perceptual levels of consciousness are automatic, but the conceptual level is not. Our brains, nervous systems, and minds as well as those of other animals are biologically set to have sensations or perceptions with an environmental stimulus or a change in one’s perceptual field. There is no choice or alternative in the matter. But the same cannot be said for the conceptual level of consciousness. Continue...Link to Original
  13. This essay is a follow-up to “The Perceptual Level as Given.” It will discuss a philosophical school that tried to answer the question of what the mind starts with: the sensualists/empiricists. The bulk of this essay will be an extended presentation of the sensualist approach of consciousness and knowledge as expounded by key sensualists like Hobbes and Hume. That section will be followed by a couple of my own problems with sensualism as they relate to the perceptual level of consciousness. (My issues with the sensualist view of the conceptual level will have to wait until I work through the i
  14. One of the questions that philosophy asks is, “what information does the mind start with, what is ‘given’ with regard to our consciousness”? To answer this question, let’s briefly survey the levels of information that the mind deals with from the Objectivist perspective. As this principle sort of encapsulates the Objectivist view of perception, I’ll elaborate on some aspects of perception that I covered in previous essays. After giving this overview, I’ll discuss this principle’s relation to the previous intuitive inductions I’ve written about. The conclusion will discuss some overall lessons
  15. My previous essay on sensory qualities indicated that past philosophies generated doubts about the validity of the senses. As would be expected, historically there have been criticisms levied against all of the standard forms of gaining knowledge: perception, as we’ve already seen, but also the conceptual faculty/faculty of reason, and the art of logic. The principle that consciousness has identity gives a general answer to these kinds of criticisms. It also highlights what should be regarded as the proper starting point for an epistemology. Continue...Link to Original
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