A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE CONCEPT OF INDUCTIVISM AS A SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN J. S. MILL

AUTHOR: CHIDIEBERE C. OBI

DEPARTMENT: PHILOSOPHY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY AWKA

Inductivism is the claim that induction is the basis of proper scientific inquiry. Induction holds that we can infer that what we know to be true in a particular case or cases will be true in all cases, which resemble the former in certain assignable respects. Sequel to this claim, John Stuart Mill, one of the major proponents of inductivism rejected every rationalistic or idealistic approach to scientific knowledge; instead, he suggested experience as the basis for any knowledge that is worthwhile. The history of philosophy has been characterized by arguments and counter arguments on what should constitute the nature of scientific methodology and this has led to absolutism in science that is, the belief that scientists must adhere to some stipulated methods. This work employs critical method, functional
analysis and hermeneutical method to appraise the above stated claim by first of all establishing the roles played by the human reason and a prior ideas in the scientific enterprise. After this, we will also examine issues surrounding the methodology of science as raised by philosophers of science like Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend etc. consequently; we will conclude that science has more to do with pragmatism via relativism which can be certified by some landmark achievements in the history of science.

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