Fire Always Burns?

It seems that only a philosopher can doubt that fire always burns*, and perhaps that's why a philosopher is most likely to get scalded by a flame. :)

* Referring to Ghazali's version of problem of Induction. In simple words: How can we be sure that fire always burns? Just because we have seen it happening in the past doesn't mean that it will happen in the future as well. A layman may laugh at this question, but philosophers are yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to this problem, which also tends to raise doubts about the integrity of science.


Kishore said…
Well, isn't this question quite similar to the question of mortality?

How can we say that all men are mortal? We haven't seen all men whom we knew alive, to be dead. The statement that all men are mortal can be made safely only after all the men who have ever live are dead.
do we really need to know? In doubting ourselves and others, in finding out about what WOULD happen, we don't even feel the warmth of the fire that is there.
I say, feel the heat, feel the passion while it lasts. Chances are it will, if it doesn't, at least you would have your fair share of the fire.
Awais said…
@ Kishore

Yes, it is similar. These are both specific instances of the general problem of Induction, most explicitly presented by Hume. I'll write about it sometimes on my blog. I mentioned it a little previously in my post on Popper too [What I Believe, Question 3].
Abdullah Shahid said…
Have you philosophers actually provided a solution to anything besided creating confusion and confusions? lol :-D
Kishore said…
@ Awais

Yes, I remember reading this somewhere. Hume, and in Russell too.
Alifar said…
There is an alternate way to look at this question:

Fire, as an entity, has a certain property that (we implicitly assume) is inherent in it. And that property is heat. Remove heat from fire, and we will get a flame that does not burn. This will, in a way, do away with the problem of induction, pro tem.
Any phenomenon that we can classify, based on certain visible characteristics, under the broad hypernym of “fire” must necessarily, under certain arbitrarily set yet inflexible linguistic rules, possess the property of burning. That is, that which we call fire must necessarily burn or else we cannot call it by that name. For a layman, the argument runs as follows:

“If it ain’t burnin’, then it ain’t fire.”

PS: This does not mean that if an entity burns it must necessarily be fire. It is not the other way round!