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Hasty generalization

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DefinitionEdit

The arguer draws a general conclusion from a sample that is biased or too small.

Pattern:
Some X are (sometimes) A.
Therefore, most X are (always) A.

ExampleEdit

This ad for John McCain, I am Joe the Plumber," (invites the viewer to) commit the fallacy of hasty generalization.

I.am.joe







This video for John McCain’s campaign, features a wide variety of Americans that represent “Joe the Plumber”. The personalities range from caterers to teachers to truck drivers to antique shop owners and much more. The characters in this ad are so varied to represent the average American, and therefore what all Americans should believe, making a hasty generalization. This idea is taken from a small, Republican biased group, therefore not being able to represent every average American. The characters in this ad all agree that they want to reach their “American Dream.” They are trying to persuade viewers to vote for McCain and not Obama because of his tax plan, which would take away citizens’ hard earned money.

Other exampleEdit

This commercial for Camel Cigarettes (invites the viewer to) commits a hasty generalization.

Camel







Definition:
The audience draws the conclusion from a small group of doctors, that smoking Camel Cigarettes is better than other brands.
Pattern:
Some doctors smoke Camel Cigarettes. Therefore, most doctors prefer Camel Cigarettes.

In this old-fashioned, black and white ad, the narrator starts off explaining how even busy doctors make time to enjoy a cigarette, a Camel cigarette. In a repeated national survey performed on doctors in all fields of medicine, the results showed that most doctors prefer Camel brand cigarettes. They are mild, good tasting, agree with your throat and pleasure the smoker. The video repeatedly emphasizes that more doctors prefer Camel more than any other brand. The video ends with inviting the viewer to test Camel cigarettes for thirty days to see the difference. The hasty generalization in this commercial is that since most doctors prefer Camel cigarettes, all doctors should prefer Camel cigarettes and you should too. The fallacy is committed because the conclusion is being made from a small group of doctors, not representing every doctor's preference.


This video displaying racism in the car (invites the viewer to) commits a hasty generalization.

Racism








Definition:
The audience draws the conclusion from a racist woman, that all African Americans are dangerous
Pattern:
Some African Americans are dangerous. Therefore, most African Americans are dangerous.

This video starts with a young white woman at a stoplight, listening to pop music. A few seconds later, an African American male pulls up next to her. She sees him looking at her and immediately rolls up her windows and locks the doors, assuming that he might do something to harm her. The man knows what she is doing and turns to the camera stating this is the "third time this has happened" to him. The fallacy of hasty generalization has occurred due to the belief of a stereotype. Since a small group of African Americans are considered dangerous, the woman hastily generalizes that all African Americans are dangerous.

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