Will the Sun Rise Tomorrow?

“Do any number of cases of a law being fulfilled in the past afford evidence that it will be fulfilled in the future? If not, it becomes plain that we have no ground whatever for expecting the sun to rise tomorrow or for expecting the bread we shall eat at our next meal not to poison us or for any of the other scarcely conscious expectations that control our daily lives. The belief in the uniformity of nature is the belief that everything that has happened or will happen is an instance of a general law to which to which there are no exceptions. The inductive principle however is equally incapable of being proved by an appeal to experience. Experience might conceivably affirm the inductive principle as regards the cases that have been already examined, but as regards unexamined cases, it is the inductive principle alone that can justify any inference from what has been examined to what has not been examined. All arguments which, on the basis of experience, argue as to the future, assume the inductive principle. Hence, we can never use experience to prove the inductive principle without begging the question. Thus we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence or forego all justification of our expectations about the future.”

Russell, Problems of Philosophy, 1912


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