15th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence
  July 21-26 2002     Lyon     France  

ECAI-2002 Conference Paper

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A Pragmatic Theory of Induction

John Bell

This paper develops a qualitative, logical, theory of induction. It begins Hempel's attempt to produce a ``purely syntactical'' theory of confirmation and the demise of this attempt as a result of Goodman's paradox. Ideas from the informal, pragmatic, solutions to this paradox proposed by Goodman and Quine are then adopted, adapted and extended in order to produce a formal, pragmatic, theory of induction. According to this theory, induction takes place in an evolving context of inference; which includes an evolving system of kinds and, typically, a background theory. The theory is illustrated by giving a formal solution to Goodman's paradox, and a further difficulty raised by Davidson is discussed.

Keywords: Inductive Logic, Philosophical Foundations, Induction

Citation: John Bell: A Pragmatic Theory of Induction. In F. van Harmelen (ed.): ECAI2002, Proceedings of the 15th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2002, pp.564-568.

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ECAI-2002 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the UniversitÚ Claude Bernard and INSA, Lyon, on behalf of Association Franšaise pour l'Intelligence Artificielle.