Hume's Positive Argument on Induction



Discussion on whether Hume's treatment of induction is descriptive or normative has usually centred on Hume's negative argument, somewhat neglecting the positive argument. In this paper, I will buck this trend, focusing on the positive argument. First, I argue that Hume's positive and negative arguments should be read as addressing the same issues (whether normative or descriptive). I then argue that Hume's positive argument in the Enquiry is normative in nature; drawing on his discussion of scepticism in Section 12 of the Enquiry, I explain a framework by which he provides what I call consequent justification for our inductive practices in his positive argument. Based on this, I argue that his negative argument in the Enquiry should similarly be read as normative in nature.