The Old Problem of Induction and the New Reflective Equilibrium
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2005
Volume 59, Issue 3, pages 347–356, September 2005
How to Cite
Bates, J. (2005), The Old Problem of Induction and the New Reflective Equilibrium. Dialectica, 59: 347–356. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2005.01016.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2005
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2005
In 1955, Goodman set out to ‘dissolve’ the problem of induction, that is, to argue that the old problem of induction is a mere pseudo-problem not worthy of serious philosophical attention. This dissolution, which has enjoyed tremendous acceptance, essentially involved an application of what has since been called the method of reflective equilibrium. Largely in connection with naturalism in epistemology, the reflective equilibrium method has lately been the subject of considerable attention (Goldman and Pust 1998, Graham and Horgan 1998, Jackson 1998, Kornblith 1998/2002). I will argue that, under naturalistic views of the reflective equilibrium method, it cannot provide a basis for a dissolution of the problem of induction. This is because naturalized reflective equilibrium is – in a way to be explained – itself an inductive method, and thus renders Goodman's dissolution viciously circular. This paper, then, examines how the old problem of induction crept back in while nobody was looking.