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Analysis of Mr. Mill's System of Logic
written by "Stebbing, W. (William), 1832-1926"
...tewart's school, that the principle of induction is 'our intuitive conviction that the future will resemble the past'). It assumes, in short, that the course of nature is uniform, that is, that all things take place according to general laws. But this general axiom of induction, though by it were discovered the obscure laws of nature, is no explanation of the inductive process, but is itself an induction (not, as some think, an intuitive principle which experience verifies only), and is arrived at after many separate phenomena have been first observed to take place according to general laws. It does not, then, prove all other inductions. But it is a condition of their proof. For any induction can be turned into a syllogism by supplying a major premiss, viz. What is true of this, that, &c. is true of the whole class; and the process by which we arrive at this immediate major may be itself represented by another syllogism or train of syllogisms, the major of the ultimate syllogism, and which therefore is the warrant for the immediate[Pg 58] major, being this axiom, viz. that there is uniformity, at all events, in the class of phenomena to which the induction relates, and a uniformity which, if not foreknown, may now be known. But though the course of nature is uniform, it is also infinitely various. Hence there is no certainty in the induction in use with the ancients, and all non-scientific men, and which Bacon attacked, viz. 'Inductio per enumerationem simplicem, ubi non reperitur instantia contradictoria'—unless, as in a few cases, we must have known of the contradictory instances if existing. The scientific theory of induction alone can show why a general law of nature may sometimes, as when the chemist first discovers the existence and properties of a before unknown substance, be inferred from a single instance, and sometimes (e.g. the blackness of all crows) not from a million. CHAPTER IV. LAWS OF NATURE. The ...

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