The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.


Culture, Logic, Words

Generalizations are conclusions, but not all conclusions are generalizations


One can be speaking generally which isn’t a generalization.  One can generalize and be correct if enough sampling has been done or the facts prove so.


Take the generalization of ALL trees are plants or where once plants (to include petrified trees/wood)!


Generalizations can be a valid method of argument. 


All trees are plants, including redwoods; therefore a Pine tree is also a plant. However not all plants are trees.


Inductive reasoning, in particular, is based on the ability to generalize from repeated experiences or observations.  The soundness of an inductive generalization can usually be determined by asking the following questions:


Do we have a sufficient number of instances to draw a conclusion?

Is the breadth of the conclusion drawn supported by the evidence?

Are the terms of the conclusion consistent with the terms of the evidence?

Fallacies result if any of these questions can be answered in the negative.


A hasty generalization is one in which there is an insufficient number of instances on which to base the generalization.


A sweeping generalization is one in which there seems to be sufficient evidence offered to draw a conclusion, but the conclusion drawn far exceeds what the evidence supports.


Well, this one is, because not all generalizations are fallacious.  This would be a sweeping generalization, since what is at issue is not the number of examples on which it is based, but its scope.  There are, certainly, plenty of examples of fallacious generalizations.  But to conclude on that basis that all generalizations are fallacious ignores plenty of other examples of reasonable generalizations.


Hasty Generalization fallacy


Clue words that support instruction for generalizations: all, none, most, many, always, everyone, never, sometimes, some, usually, seldom, few, generally, in general, and overall


However, just because you have those absolute words doesn’t mean ALL examples are ones of a Hasty Generalization.


Reminder - ALL trees are plants!


Generalizations are statements that may include or imply ideas.  Example: The climate in Mexico is generally warmer than that of the northern United States.  Thoughtful readers are able to recognize generalizations.  They are able to evaluate if a generalization is adequately supported by specific facts.  Instruction for this strategy may include helping students evaluate, make judgments and form opinions A judgment is an opinion about the value of an action, a character, a situation, an author’s assertions, elements of the text, etc.  Thoughtful readers use their own experiences and details from the text to make judgments, form opinions, evaluate, or generalize.

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