This paper makes a case for a refined look at the so- called ‘fallacy of hasty generalization’ by arguing that this expression is an umbrella term for two fallacies already distinguished by Aristotle. One is the fallacy of generalizing in an inappropriate way from a particular instance to a universal generalization containing a ‘for all x’ quantification. The other is the secundum quid (‘in a certain respect’) fallacy of moving to a conclusion that is supposed to be a universal generalization containing a ‘for all x‘ quantification while overlooking qualifications that have to be added to the more limited kind of generalization expressed in the premise. It is shown that these two fallacies relate to two different kinds of generalization.
The classification of fallacious generalizations is based on a new theory of generalization that distinguishes three kinds of generalizations – the universal generalization of the ‘for all x’ type, used in classical deductive logic, the inductive generalization, based on probability, and the presumptive generalization, which is defeasible, and allows for exceptions to a general rule. The resulting classification goes beyond a logic-oriented analysis by taking into account how a respondent may oppose a potentially fallacious generalizing move by falsifying it. Using a dialectical interpretation of premise-conclusion complexes, the paper outline a richer concept of generalizing argument moves embedded in a communicational reconstruction of the strategic uses of such moves in which two parties take part in an orderly dialectical exchange of viewpoints.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Aristotle: 1928, On Sophistical Refutations, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
- Aristotle: 1938, Prior Analytics, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
- Campbell, Stephen K.: 1974, Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar
- Copi, Irving M. and Carl Cohen: 1994, Introduction to Logic, 9th ed., Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
- Chakrabarti, Kisor Kumar: 1995, Definition and Induction: A Historical and Comparative Study, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.Google Scholar
- Grice, J. Paul: 1975, ‘Logic and Conversation', in Donald Davidson and Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar, California, Encino, pp. 64-75.Google Scholar
- Hamblin, Charles L.: 1970, Fallacies, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
- Hurley, Patrick J.: 1997, A Concise Introduction to Logic, 6th ed., Wadsworth, Belmont.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, Scott: 1995, ‘Implicatures and Deception in the Arguments of Commercial Advertising', in Special Fields and Cases, vol. 4 of Proceeding of the Third ISSA Conference on Argumentation, Amsterdam, Sic Sat, 1995, pp. 579-592.Google Scholar
- Joseph, H. W. B.: 1916, An Introduction to Logic, 2nd ed., Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Krabbe, Erik C. W.: 1995, ‘Appeal to Ignorance', in Hans V. Hansen and Robert C. Pinto (eds.), Fallacies: Classical and Contemporary Readings,, Penn State Press, University Park, Pa., pp. 251-264.Google Scholar
- Reiter, Raymond: 1987, ‘Nonmonotonic Reasoning', Annual Review of Computer Science 2, 147-186.Google Scholar
- Renon, Luis Vega: 1998, ‘Aristotle's Endoxa and Plausible Argumentation', Argumentation 12, 95-113.Google Scholar
- Rescher, Nicholas: 1976, Plausible Reasoning, Van Gorcum, Assen.Google Scholar
- Rescher, Nicholas: 1977, Dialectics, State University of New York Press, Albany.Google Scholar
- Walton, Douglas: 1990, ‘Ignoring Qualifications (Secundum Quid) as a Subfallacy of Hasty Generalization', Logique et Analyse 129–130, 113-154.Google Scholar
- Walton, Douglas: 1995, A Pragmatic Theory of Fallacy, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.Google Scholar
- Walton, Douglas: 1996, Arguments From Ignorance, Penn State Press, University Park, Pa.Google Scholar