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13120Re: [XTalk] Generalizations

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  • Bob Schacht
    Apr 5, 2003
      At 04:44 AM 4/6/2003 +0000, Mike Grondin wrote:
      >--- Bob Schacht wrote:
      > > As for a few particulars not disproving the general, I thought
      > > the whole idea of hypothesis testing was that a few particulars
      > > could indeed disprove the general.
      >
      >If the general is a universal of the form "All X's are Y's". "Human
      >beings have two legs" is a general statement, but not a universal,
      >since there are those born without legs. More importantly, we're
      >talking about historical trends, sorta like the stock market going
      >up over time. A temporary downturn or glitch doesn't disprove the
      >historical trend.

      This is a taxonomic universal, which is not a very interesting form of
      hypothesis. The more interesting form of the "general" is statements of
      process that express a relationship between two or more variables. The law
      of gravity, for example, is certainly a general statement with a very
      precise meaning. It can, in principle, be falsified by a contrary
      "particular," but none have been found. You also fail to distinguish
      between general statements in universal (absolute) form, and general
      statements in normative form. What you've done in your response is, in
      essence, to defend your claim by restricting the definition of "general".

      Bob

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