Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[PHI 3000] The Pessimistic Induction and arguments for God's existence

One argument against scientific realism is known as the Pessimistic Induction:
If one considers the history of scientific theories in any given discipline, what one typically finds is a regular turnover of older theories in favour of newer ones, as scientific knowledge develops. From the point of view of the present, most past theories must be considered false; indeed, this will be true from the point of view of most times. Therefore, by enumerative induction (that is, generalizing from these cases), surely theories at any given time will ultimately be replaced and regarded as false from some future perspective. Thus, current theories are also false.
Now, consider the following argument, which is also an inductive generalization from cases, only this time the cases are arguments for the existence of God rather than scientific theories:
  1. Past arguments for the existence of God have turned out to be fallacious.
  2. Therefore, current arguments for the existence of God are also fallacious.
What do you make of this inductive generalization? Is it cogent?

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is an academic blog about critical thinking, logic, and philosophy. So please refrain from making insulting, disparaging, and otherwise inappropriate comments. Also, if I publish your comment, that does not mean I agree with it. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.