I have been following the discussion on Induction between Chris and Mitch with great interest. Even though they are about to wrap things up, I wanted to comment on part of Mitch’s most recent response.
Mitch writes: It might not be a justification of induction in Bolt’s opinion, but such is the nature of pragmatism. It needs not be a justification, it simply is a warrant for its continued use. There is no error here as Reichenbach is not attempting to contest that induction is justified or unjustified in that statement, simply that we have a reason to continue to use it.
I am not quite sure what Mitch is saying here when he states on the one hand that “it needs not be a justification” and on the other hand states that “it simply is a warrant for its continued use.” Perhaps Mitch means something less formal by use of the word “warrant” than I am used to in discussions of this nature.
It seems to me that the statement “it needs not be a justification” implies no justification is present. Therefore, perhaps the word “warrant” simply means “reason” in the weaker sense, as in something that provides a motivation, rather than a logical basis. If Mitch means something more formal by the term, then I don’t find consistency with the implication that no justification is present.
Now, if Mitch means “warrant” as a motivation, then it seems to follow that it is entirely reasonable to hold a particular position on the basis of pragmatism alone (i.e. without the need for a logical justification). If this is truly the case, then I wonder how Mitch would respond to those who might claim to hold the position that the Christian God exists as a pragmatic belief? Is there “warrant” for believing in God if it allows the believer to accomplish a particular goal? Does the believer “have a reason to continue” their belief, if it gives them the ability to meet a particular end? At what point is it acceptable to give up the search for justification and appeal to pragmatism?
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