Inductive Knowledge

Noûs 54 (2):354-388 (2018)
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This paper formulates some paradoxes of inductive knowledge. Two responses in particular are explored: According to the first sort of theory, one is able to know in advance that certain observations will not be made unless a law exists. According to the other, this sort of knowledge is not available until after the observations have been made. Certain natural assumptions, such as the idea that the observations are just as informative as each other, the idea that they are independent, and that they increase your knowledge monotonically (among others) are given precise formulations. Some surprising consequences of these assumptions are drawn, and their ramifications for the two theories examined. Finally, a simple model of inductive knowledge is offered, and independently derived from other principles concerning the interaction of knowledge and counterfactuals.

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Andrew Bacon
University of Southern California


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