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Chapter 9 Language Problems in the Context of Induction: Pseudoprecision: these are claims that appear to be precise because of the use of numbers, but.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 9 Language Problems in the Context of Induction: Pseudoprecision: these are claims that appear to be precise because of the use of numbers, but."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 9 Language Problems in the Context of Induction: Pseudoprecision: these are claims that appear to be precise because of the use of numbers, but cannot be precise because of the impossibility of obtaining knowledge to the level of exactness described. Typically there is a problem with an operational definition when this occurs. Examples of pseudoprecision are expiration dates on food, calorie content on foods and many studies relating to increases in usage and the like. (see page 270-2)

2 Chapter 9 Questionable Operational Definitions Sometimes an operational definition used in science or the like is used in a manner that is illicit. So when a term or phrase that is vague or imprecise is used (like: unfocused hyperactivity) and a precise measurement is applied (like 40% reduction), then we have an instance of a term that has been operationalized. The claim or number is misleading because there is no precision, but only pseudoprecision (272).

3 Chapter 9 Common Errors in Inductive Reasoning The Biased Sample: this occurs with cases of over- or under- emphasized characteristics being sampled. Or it could occur because the sample isn’t random or the question in a poll is presented in such a way to guarantee the outcome desired by the poll taker.

4 Description of Biased Sample This fallacy is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is biased or prejudiced in some manner. It has the following form: Sample S, which is biased, is taken from population P. Conclusion C is drawn about Population P based on S.

5 A sample is biased or loaded when the method used to take the sample is likely to result in a sample that does not adequately represent the population from which it is drawn. For Example: The United Pacifists of America decide to run a poll to determine what Americans think about guns and gun control. Jane is assigned the task of setting up the study. To save mailing costs, she includes the survey form in the group's newsletter mailing. She is very pleased to find out that 95% of those surveyed favor gun control laws and she tells her friends that the vast majority of Americans favor gun control laws.

6 Example #2: Pastor Pete: People are turning to God everywhere! 9 out of 10 people I interviewed said that they had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Fred: Where did you find these people you interviewed? Pastor Pete: In my church. Explanation: Pastor Pete has drawn a conclusion about religious beliefs from people “everywhere” based on people he has interviewed in his church. That’s like concluding that the world likes to dance naked in front of strangers after interviewing a group of strippers.

7 Chapter 9 Hasty inductive generalizations: Inductive generalization in which the evidence in the premises is too slight to support the conclusion, usually because the sample is so small that it is extremely unlikely to be representative. The G condition of argument cogency is not satisfied in such a case.

8 Examples of Hasty Generalization Smith, who is from England, decides to attend graduate school at Ohio State University. He has never been to the US before. The day after he arrives, he is walking back from an orientation session and sees two white (albino) squirrels chasing each other around a tree. In his next letter home, he tells his family that American squirrels are white. Sam is riding her bike in her home town in Maine, minding her own business. A station wagon comes up behind her and the driver starts beeping his horn and then tries to force her off the road. As he goes by, the driver yells "get on the sidewalk where you belong!" Sam sees that the car has Ohio plates and concludes that all Ohio drivers are jerks.

9 Of course your columnist Michele Slatalla was joking when she wrote about needing to talk with her 58-year- old mother about going into a nursing home. While I admire Slatalla's concern for her parents, and agree that as one approaches 60 it is wise to make some long-term plans, I hardly think that 58 is the right age at which to talk about a retirement home unless there are some serious health concerns. In this era, when people are living to a healthy and ripe old age, Slatalla is jumping the gun. My 85-year-old mother power-walks two miles each day, drives her car (safely), climbs stairs, does crosswords, reads the daily paper and could probably beat Slatalla at almost anything. Source: Nancy Edwards, "Letters to the Editor", Time, 6/26/00.

10 Chapter 9 Anecdotal arguments describe premises from one person’s experiences and try to base a conclusion. You use a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a cogent argument or compelling evidence. Typically the problem with these anecdotal arguments is that they don’t satisfy the G condition from our ARG conditions. There are no good grounds to accept a robust conclusion. Anecdotal arguments are a form of hasty generalization and are thus fallacies.

11 Examples of Anecdotal Evidence Jason said that that was all cool and everything, but his grandfather smoked, like, 30 cigarettes a day and lived until 97 - so don't believe everything you read about meta analyses of methodologically sound studies showing proven causal relationships. "Criminals are never given the punishment they deserve. Just look at that guy who tried to kill that little girl. After the plea bargaining, he practically got off scot free!"

12 Chapter 9 The Fallacy of Composition and Division These two fallacies deal with inferences that occur between the part and the whole or members of a group and the group itself. Fallacy of Composition: a conclusion about a whole or group is reached based on premises about its parts or members. Fallacy of Division: a conclusion about a part or member is reached based on premises about the whole or group.

13 Chapter 9 Examples of the fallacies of composition and division. Composition: Each apartment is small. So the whole apartment building is small. We can see that the building could be quite large. Division: The Florida Marlins baseball team is 16 years old. So, each Florida Marlins baseball player is 16 years old. We know that the professional baseball players are not all 16 years old. These are mistakes in reasoning.

14 Examples of Composition 1.A main battle tank uses more fuel than a car. Therefore, the main battle tanks use up more of the available fuel in the world than do all the cars. 2.A tiger eats more food than a human being. Therefore, tigers, as a group, eat more food than do all the humans on the earth. 3.Atoms are colorless. Cats are made of atoms, so cats are colorless. 4."Every player on the team is a superstar and a great player, so the team is a great team." This is fallacious since the superstars might not be able to play together very well and hence they could be a lousy team. 5."Each part of the show, from the special effects to the acting is a masterpiece. So, the whole show is a masterpiece." This is fallacious since a show could have great acting, great special effects and such, yet still fail to "come together" to make a masterpiece. 6."Come on, you like beef, potatoes, and green beens, so you will like this beef, potato, and green been casserole." This is fallacious for the same reason that the following is fallacious: "You like eggs, icecream, pizza, cake, fish, jello, chicken, taco sauce, soda, oranges, milk, egg rolls, and yogurt so you must like this yummy dish made out of all of them." 7.Sodium and Chloride are both dangerous to humans. Therefore any combination of sodium and chloride will be dangerous to humans.

15 Examples of Division 1."The ball is blue, therefore the atoms that make it up are also blue." 2."A living cell is organic material, so the chemicals making up the cell must also be organic material." 3."Bill lives in a large building, so his apartment must be large." 4."Sodium chloride (table salt) may be safely eaten. Therefore its constituent elements, sodium and chloride, may be safely eaten." 5."Americans use much more electricity than Africans do. So Bill, who lives in primitive cabin in Maine, uses more electricity than Nelson, who lives in a modern house in South Africa. " 6."Men receive more higher education than women. Therefore Dr. Jane Smart has less higher education than Mr. Bill Buffoon. " 7."Minorities get paid less than 'whites' in America. Therefore, the black CEO of a multi-billion dollar company gets paid less than the white janitor who cleans his office."


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