DFG-Project The Metaphysics of Induction

In my project, I consider the question whether the ontological view that there are necessary connections has an influence on the solubility of the problem of finding a justification of ampliative inferences.

The ontological controversy about the existence of necessary connections has become important for the solution of the problem of induction since some authors proposed that Humeans could not solve the problem of induction, whereas necessitarians, who claim that there are necessary connections in nature, allegedly can. The general idea is that if there is a necessary connection between F and G and we know that there is one, then we are justified to infer that future or unobserved Fs will also be Gs, since they simply could not be otherwise. This has been taken as an advantage of necessitarian over Humean views and has been used as an argument against Humeanism.

The project is designed to deliver 1) a critique of necessitarian and Humean attempts at solving the old and the new problem of induction. 2) A comparison and a critique of the different necessitarian and Humean standards for what counts as a justification for ampliative inferences. 3) A survey of ampliative reasoning in scientific practice in order to establish whether the various philosophical accounts of ampliative reasoning and its justification actually fit scientific practice.

Other Research

Apart from my involvement in my project on induction, I work in the following fields:

  • Philosophy of time: temporal ontology; compatibility of the prominent temporal ontologies with the powers view or Humeanism, open future Humeanism
  • Philosophy of Science: laws of nature, demarcation problem, philosophy of pseudoscience, epistemological status of randomized clinical trials, metaphysics of science
  • Ontology: dispositions and powers, Humeanism, causation
  • Free will, especially what kind of influence a notion of determinism that is informed by the debate about laws of nature has on the concept of an open future, which is relevant for libertarian theories of free will.