This study is intended to provide an answer to the following questions: Does induction generate certain knowledge or tentative conclusions? Is perfect induction possible or impossible? If it is impossible, could the addition of a supplement to imperfect induction result Full Text
This study is intended to provide an answer to the following questions: Does induction generate certain knowledge or tentative conclusions? Is perfect induction possible or impossible? If it is impossible, could the addition of a supplement to imperfect induction result in certain and absolute judgments? In order to provide some answers to the raised questions, the writer has explored the historical development of the theory of induction and then discussed the theory adopted in this paper. This theory has not undergone many fluctuations in the history of Muslim thinkers’ logical thoughts and can be studied in three historical phases or periods. In the first phase, the greatest player of which was Fārābī and, more than him, Ibn Sīnā, induction was divided into perfect and imperfect types. At the same time, Fārābī explicitly stated that perfect induction is impossible and emphasized that imperfect induction results in uncertain conclusions. In order to compensate for the defects of induction, Ibn Sīnā demonstrated how the conclusions of an imperfect induction can be promoted to the level of an empirical judgment through using a compound syllogism and benefitting from the chance principle so that it would turn into an ensuring and certain conclusion. The main player of the second period is Fakhr al-Dīn Rāzī. He maintained that imperfect induction does not yield certain results, and what has been interpreted as empirical judgment and placed within the category of certainties and even axioms is not anything more than an analogy. The third phase is characterized by the efforts and ideas of Muhammad Baqir Sadr, who believed that, although imperfect induction results in certain conclusions, the mentioned certainty, in contrast to Ibn Sīnā’s view, does not result from the mediation of a compound syllogism and the chance principle. He, rather, acknowledged that the certainty of inductive judgments arises from a specific feature of human intellect which persuades it to ignore fewer possible instances in the face of numerous possible ones. He calls this kind of certainty subjective certainty. The present paper, after reporting and analyzing the three- fold periods, demonstrates that the only defensible and justifiable standpoint regarding the theory of induction belongs to Fakhr al-Dīn Rāzī and concludes that induction, whether by itself or with the help of a syllogism, yields nothing more than a tentative conclusion.