Hasty generalization

From Academic Kids

Hasty generalization, also known as "fallacy of insufficient statistics", "fallacy of insufficient sample", "fallacy of the lonely fact", "leaping to a conclusion", "hasty induction" or "secundum quid", is the logical fallacy of reaching an inductive generalization based on too little evidence.

Examples:

  • "I loved the hit song, therefore I'll love the album it's on." (Fallacious because the album might have one good song and lots of filler.)
  • "This Web site looks OK to me on my computer; therefore, it will look OK on your computer, too." (My screen size is smaller than yours, and I'm using a computer in a public library, so I can't adjust it!)
  • "In my lifetime, there has been a leap year every fourth year; therefore, every fourth year, past, present, and future, is a leap year." (Not true; see the leap year article.)
  • "My dog is black. Therefore, all dogs must be black."

See also faulty generalization for other fallacies involving generalization.

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