Volume 56, 1998/99
Analytic Philosophy in Portugal
Hume, Induction and Single Experiments
Hume fully recognised, and partially explained, the role of inductions from single experiments in human knowledge - something his Scottish critics, and some more recent ones, failed to understand. Those inferences, he maintains, depend on the use of a Newtonian rule and the removal of superfluous circumstances. But that rule is not sufficient, and Hume never stated the exact conditions of this removal. We should distinguish between survey and experience in his philosophy, to understand how experience of conjunctions where inductive knowledge has accumulated, in uniform or regular classes or sets of phenomena, may produce cognitive situations when once is enough - without relying on any mysterious innate principles.