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(2009) Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

Aspects of inductivism in Thomas Reid's science of the mind

Riku Juti

pp. 115-138

The chapter deals with the nature of Thomas Reid's inductivism, its place in his epistemology and philosophy of the human mind, and its role in the methodological turn of British thought. It is argued that Reid's concept of induction is hbox{Newtonian,} i.e. induction is part of the classical method of analysis and should therefore be understood as an instrument of discovery rather than of justification. Contrary to the received view, Reid does not reject the use of hypotheses in science. According to Reid, legitimate hypotheses are well-staged predictions that are intimately linked with the experimental setup at hand. As such, Reid's methodology keeps away from any hypostasis of spatial elements in cognitive activity. According to him, "immediacy" and "directness", which both characterize the activities of the mind, do not mean "presence". The distinction between things in the mind and things external is not meant to signify the place of things we speak of, but their subject. The chapter ends with an analysis of Reid's famous principles of common sense. It is suggested that these principles could be seen as related to medieval thinkers' "general propositions". Reid was an ontological nominalist. He needed nontrivial initial premises to back up his particular observations and facts in order to reach universal or general conclusions about nature.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8582-6_7

Full citation:

Juti, R. (2009)., Aspects of inductivism in Thomas Reid's science of the mind, in S. Heinämaa & M. Reuter (eds.), Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 115-138.

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