The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Letters to William James’


The third kind of warrant is that which justifies the use of a method of inference provided it be carried out to the end consistently. There are three kinds of inference of this kind. They are all inferences from random samples. The strongest is that which is a sample (that is, a collection) of units. In that case, the theory of errors is applicable. The second kind is where there are no definite multitudes but where, as the sample is enlarged, the inference becomes stronger and stronger. The third kind, which is the weakest of all forms of Induction, is where the only defence is that if the conclusion is false, its falsity will sometime be detected if the method of inference be persisted in long enough. [—] No inductive inference can be weaker than that and have any warrant at all.

EP 2:502
‘Induction’ (pub. 03.02.13-19:46). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Feb 03, 2013, 19:46 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:00 by Commens Admin