Volume 17, Issue 1, 2020
Late Scholastic Analyses of Inductive Reasoning
The late scholastic era was, among others, contemporary to the “emergence of probability”, the German academic philosophy from Leibniz to Kant, and the introduction of Newtonian physics. Within this era, two branches of the late-scholastic analysis of induction can be identified, one which can be thought of as a continual development of earlier scholastic approaches, while the other one absorbed influences of early modern philosophy, mathematics, and physics. Both branches of scholastic philosophy share the terminology of modalities, probability, and forms of (inductive) arguments. Furthermore, induction was commonly considered valid as a result of being a covert syllogism. Last but not least, there appears to be a difference in emphasis between the two traditions’ analyses of induction: while Tolomei discussed the theological presuppositions of induction, Amort’s “leges contingentium” exemplify the principles of induction by aleatory phenomena and Boscovich’s rules for inductive arguments are predominately concerned with the generalisation of macro-level observations to the micro-level.