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P.D. Magnus

The scope of inductive risk

A paper based on work that I presented at UT Dallas and RPI.

Versions available


The Argument from Inductive Risk (AIR) is taken to show that values are inevitably involved in making judgements or forming beliefs. After reviewing this conclusion, I pose cases which are prima facie counterexamples: the unreflective application of conventions, use of black-boxed instruments, reliance on opaque algorithms, and unskilled observation reports. These cases are counterexamples to the AIR posed in ethical terms as a matter of personal values. Nevertheless, it need not be understood in those terms. The values which load a theory choice may be those of institutions or past actors. This means that the challenge of responsibly handling inductive risk is not merely an ethical issue, but is also social, political, and historical.


	AUTHOR = {P.D. Magnus},
	TITLE = {The scope of inductive risk},
	JOURNAL = {Metaphilosophy},
	YEAR = {2022},
	MONTH = jan,
	VOLUME = {53},
	NUMBER = {1},
	PAGES = {17--24},
	DOI = {10.1111/meta.12536}

The first online draft of this paper was posted 23mar2020. The first published version was posted online 7jan2022.