Covering scope and certainty

We also know that claims always imply or state their scope and certainty and attention to this point will permit us to avoid one of the great errors in reasoning:

mainp - softvnn.com the sweeping generalisation. Often people will make a conclusion that is far too general, or definitive for the reasons they are presenting to support it. An example would be: 'Australia has a good education system with strong programs to teach literacy, and thus all Australians know how to read and write.' It is true that Australia has a good education system with such programs but it is not true, consequentially, that all Australians know how to read and write. First, some Australians have learning difficulties or other impairments that prevent them from benefiting from those programs; a few Australians—usually those from disadvantaged backgrounds—face problems in attending school, being able to function effectively there, and so on that again vitiate the impact of those programs. But, logically, the mistake made here is that the scope and certainty of the conclusion is not in step with the scope and certainty of the premise. Therefore when making the link between premises and conclusion, we need to align the scope and certainty so that one can support the other. A better argument would be: Australia has a good education system with strong programs to teach literacy, and thus it is very likely that Australians will leave school knowing how to read and write'. The change is in the claim that serves as the conclusion: but the consequence of the change is in fact to strengthen the link between the claims.

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