Using Induction to subvert it?
I was reading the article by Michael Martin on the Secular Web where he looks into the possibility of induction assuming theism and the Christian God in particular. Martin says:
Christian apologists like Bahnsen who appeal to TAG acknowledge their debt to David Hume, the eighteenth century Scottish skeptic, and Bertrand Russell, one of the twentieth century's most famous philosophers. Both thinkers raised skeptical questions about induction. Bahnsen's strategy was to take these seriously and then try to show that belief in the Christian God could dispel them. Unfortunately, he exhibited no awareness of the philosophical arguments that have challenged inductive skepticism in general and Hume's and Russell's versions of it in particular.
I do not know what arguments Martin is talking about - if any of you know please post them. I turned to Wikipedia for a quick paragraph on “the problem of induction” as formulated by Hume.
We all think that the past acts as a reliable guide to the future. For example, physicists' laws of planetary orbits work for describing past planetary behavior, so we presume that they'll work for describing future planetary behavior as well. But how can we justify this presumption – the principle of induction? Hume suggested two possible justifications and rejected them both:
- The first justification states that, as a matter of logical necessity, the future must resemble the past. But, Hume pointed out, we can conceive of a chaotic, erratic world where the future has nothing to do with the past – or, more tamely, a world just like ours right up until the present, at which point things change completely. So nothing makes the principle of induction logically necessary.
- The second justification, more modestly, appeals only to the past reliability of induction – it's always worked before, so it will probably continue to work. But, Hume pointed out, this justification uses circular reasoning, justifying induction by an appeal that requires induction to gain any force.
I think both of these rely on the false premise of analytic and synthetic truths – but that is not my argument. Perhaps you guys can point out my error in thinking here but it would seem that Hume and Russell would have to use induction in order to undermine it. [I have not read any of their material so I have no idea.] I.E. they would have to find particular possibilities of justifying induction, show why it can't be justified and then come to the general conclusion that induction cannot be justified. If I am right then this amounts to concept stealing and their arguments against induction collapse – along with any presuppostionalist usage of their arguments.