Understanding Fallacies

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Inductive Fallacy

Hasty Generalization

The size of the sample is too small to support the conclusion.

Example

  1. Fred, the Australian, stole my wallet. Thus, all Australians are thieves. (Of course, we shouldn't judge all Australians on the basis of one example.)
  2. I asked six of my friends what they thought of the new spending restraints and they agreed it is a good idea. The new restraints are therefore generally popular.

Proof

Identify the size of the sample and the size of the population, then show that the sample size is too small. Note: a formal proof would require a mathematical calculation. This is the subject of probability theory. For now, you must rely on common sense.

Reference

Barker: 189, Cedarblom and Paulsen: 372, Davis: 103

Reference Guide
Fallacy Summary

The content of this Fallacy originated from Stephen Downes Guide to Logical Fallacies.

 

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