We are more likely to be mistaken in our generalization than in our particular observations

By definition we can say that a generalization is: the act or an instance of generalizing. A principle, a statement, or an idea having general application. That is, we you generalize you base your generalization on sometimes emotions and perception. A particular observation is when you study a particular case to take any conclusion what-so-ever out of it, based on reason and experience. Most of the time “the above title is true” even though there are some exceptions. Exceptions can easily blow up a generalization if it doesn’t apply in all circumstances.

It depends, on what we are talking about and in what way of knowing we are focusing on. There are ways of knowing where generalizations do exist and information is more accurate such as in statistics or the natural sciences. However, we can never be 100% sure that what we feel, see or believe is accepted as true from everyone. Therefore, I believe that most of the time “this statement applies to reality and as a consequence I agree. Let’s see an everyday example in order to clarify such a statement.

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When you go watch your team play and in this particular game they were crap, you cannot say that they were ALWAYS crap. If, in the other hand, you study your team’s history, go to watch every game throughout the season, and then you can come to a conclusion on whether it’s going well or not. Another easy example to think of is AIDS and its “reign” over the African countries. It’s very well known that AIDS and Africa are somehow related, although you cannot say it is taking over Africa.

Of course, if you take a questionnaire with the Africans or take HIV tests with them, which are less likely, you will probably find that a big majority is affected by it. However, you still cannot generalize by saying that African countries are being ruined by the virus. Before you do, you have to take other factors into consideration like for example starvation, lack of hygiene, mal-nutrition and so on, these are the particular observations that should be done before you can generalize anything. Art.

When you go to an art gallery and see an artistic piece, and try to analyze, you create opinions and begin to imagine what information (if there is any) the painting is trying to tell us due to experiences passed in your life that can make you remember this particular painting. Again, you cannot say that is what the painting is about, due to the fact that you’ll hardly ever know what the painter was thinking of when he did it, and you’ll never know what the other people are thinking about it, that is, you will never know if other people interpreted the same thing as you did (unless you ask them).

Giving this example of art is good, because always when you it comes to interpret paintings there is this enigma. One day my dad and I when to a fast food restaurant and ordered a cheeseburger that was about R$ 10 and of course the beverages and all, and while eating I asked why a cheeseburger here in Brazil is much more expensive than a burger in the USA given that the same ingredients are used. My dad studied economics at the university and taught me a theory he learnt and that time, which he never forgot.

The theory was something along these lines: given the exchange rate of any same product (the burger for example) is proportional and at equilibrium than the price should be at the same ratio or the same in every country, given the product is the same! Thus, agreeing to this theory the price in all countries should be the same. Then I thought “well of course it isn’t the same, as dollars are worth more than reais, and it’s not at the same ratio either” I asked him why.

He said this isn’t true in all case as there are countries that aren’t as developed as the USA and therefore can’t supply the exact same ingredients as the ones the burger demands. Due to this fact, countries like Chile for example, have to import these extra ingredients so the burger can taste the same (it is not even close). Importations increase the value of your products, as you have to pay to get them in your country, so to compensate prices are put higher.

Another influence that differentiates the price from one country to another is the power of its economy; in the USA for example the prices are put at whichever value the government wants. This is another example of why generalizations are never 100% true, and can and are, mistaken. When doing an experiment for chemistry for example, things get a little bit harder to explain as everything is done with lots of precision and accuracy, with low systematic error and low random uncertainty. Last year, when I studied chemistry the things we usually did in class were experiments.

Always when you make experiments, they have to be repeated one hundred times to check if the results meet, they have to be fair tested, otherwise you have cheated, and the results won’t be as expected. By doing the experiments lots of times it is very likely to achieve the same results over and over again, and that’s what you want, however, you cannot say that this particular experiment will always give the same result. Another person somewhere else in the world, may be doing the same experiment as you and accidentally added one more gram of carbon, or has forgot to moisten the litmus paper to test for the gas released.

It is a hard thing to think of, when you have the instructions by your side telling you what you should do, but it does happen, so I can again say that even when dealing with chemicals and elements and apparatus you will get 100% precision on what you experiment. So you cannot generalize about this either, there will always be the odd one out. Ethics can also be taken an example and it is the one that most applies to this essay title. For example, you open you Sunday morning newspaper, and you read that “favelados” have robbed a woman inside her car and later on killed her and left her body on a street.

The first thing that comes into your mind is: favelados are robbers, murders with no mercy. NO. Favelados live in slums, which are “an overcrowded and squalid district of a city or town usually inhabited by the very poor. Slums can be found in most large cities around the world. Slums are usually characterized by urban blight. ” It is not all favelados who are like this, the big majority of them work for their living, for example my maid, and she also lives in a slum.

I can assure you that only a few majority of the people living in these slums are criminals. This news made some decent “favelados” angry with the journalist and this made them protest with big posters and all, saying that not all, live that way. Easily in the case, it can be said the generalization are, in fact mistaken, when not observed particularly. Overall, we can “generalize” (haha) by saying generalizations can be correct, yes, but never 100%, as there will always be an odd one out to change this view to another completely different one.

When we generalize, we can commit mistakes easily, as maybe there has been a lack of studying of the subject, or a lack of particular observation which for me can be considered more accurate and precise, as there is a wider view of the matter being studied, and the majority of the time we can proove these observations, if they are done correctly. Also, there are things we say where no-one can contradict this, so its considered very “true”. So, my answer to this essay title is yes: We are more likely to be mistaken in our generalization than in our particular observations.