Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

Quine, Evolution and Natural Kinds

Added on by jay odenbaugh.

Quine writes, 

Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind. (126) 

He also writes, 


For me then the problem of induction is a problem about the world: a problem of how we, as we now are (by our present scientific lights), in a world we never made, should stand better than random or coin-tossing changes of coming out right when we predict by inductions which are based on our innate, scientific unjustified similarity standard. Darwin’s natural selection is a plausible partial explanation. (127) 

Question: Does the fact that we have survived "nature red in tooth and claw" imply that there are natural kinds or that our inductive inferences ("All observed Fs have been Gs" so probably "All Fs are Gs") are largely correct? Put differently, does Darwinian evolutionary theory show there is no problem of induction?