Dr. Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla

February 01, until July 31, 2024

Affiliation: University of Cologne

Research for a study about:

Rudolf Carnap, the Problem of Induction, and the Explicative Methodology

In Rudolf Carnap's examination of the inductive methodology of science, he challenged the idea that the justification of inductive methods is inherently at odds with logical empiricism, as it relies on an allegedly synthetic a priori assumption of uniformity. Carnap offered a logical alternative to frequentist probability, advocating for a probabilistic approach to uniformity, with the goal of classifying all probabilistic statements as analytical within inductive logic. By this, he suggested to salvage logical empiricism. It is, however, well-known that Carnap's rational reconstruction of the scientific methodology has shortcomings and gaps. This project examines the problem of deriving a relevant probabilistic statement about uniformity that can be cashed out also for justifying inductive methods within logical and information theoretical accounts. As we will argue, meta-probabilistic reasoning is necessary in order to apply Carnap’s solution to the traditional problem of induction. However, such reasoning seems to trigger an infinite regress. We will investigate whether Carnap’s general methodological suggestions with respect to applying an explicative methodology can help to overcome this problem at the meta-probabilistic level.


Rudolf Carnap's Approach to the Problem of Induction

Philosophy of Science Colloquium

The Institute Vienna Circle holds a Philosophy of Science Colloquium with talks by our present fellows.

Date: 14/03/2024

Time: 16h45

Venue: New Institute Building (NIG), Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien, HS 3F

In Rudolf Carnap's work on inductive logic (starting with his 1950), he challenged the traditional view that inductive methods contradict empiricism due to their reliance on a synthetic a priori uniformity assumption. Carnap proposed a logical alternative to frequentist probability, advocating for a probabilistic uniformity assumption. He aimed to categorize all probabilistic statements as analytical and part of an inductive logic. Despite these efforts, we want to argue that Carnap's account has gaps. It remains to be proven that from his system a probabilistic statement about nature's uniformity can be derived. Additionally, his approach seems to require meta-probabilistic reasoning, which, at least at first sight, seems to face the problem of triggering an infinite regress and leaving his account to induction incomplete.