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Hasty Generalization

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Hasty Generalization

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

X is true of A, B and C. Therefore X is true of everything.

Find a commonality in a few things and then generalize to assume that it is also true for all things in the same class.

Example

I met some children from Garton yesterday, who were very polite. I think all children from that area must be well-behaved.

I've met three race drivers today and they all were rather aggressive. Clearly, race drivers are all aggressive.

I've tried two Albanian cheeses and they were both rather bitter. Albanian cheese is not really to my taste.

Discussion

We all seek to classify things we experience in order to help make decisions about similar items we meet in the future. This generalization is a form of simplification and always results in some distortion.

If we generalize too soon, we may classify things incorrectly. This is partly due to a lack of real understanding of statistics, where a representative sample needs to be taken before realistic rules can be inferred.

Hasty generalization typically happens when we are in a discussion and are trying to make a point. We do not have the data available to prove something so we jump to conclusions and use what little information we have to 'prove' the point that we want to make.

Classification

Assumptive, Inductive

Also known as

Converse Accident, Inductive Generalization, Statistical Generalization, Insufficient Statistics, Insufficient Sample, Lonely Fact, Leaping to Conclusion, Hasty Induction

See also

Composition

 

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