To what extend mass-generalizations are true?

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manored
 
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 05:53 pm
I just noticed that we hold massive generalizations of the society that we take as true, such as, for example, that most people are stupid and they dont know what they are doing, but I started to wonder if those generalizations are correct. I mean, as an example, are most people really stupid or its just the way the society works as a whole that lets out that impression? If groups such as stupid people exist, why we dont ever categorize people we know into groups and rather have unique views of each?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 08:44 pm
@manored,
The reason why most people are stupid is that they don't agree with me. So in my opinion at least one mass generalization is true.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 09:26 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
The reason why most people are stupid is that they don't agree with me. So in my opinion at least one mass generalization is true.

I disagree Gosh.:perplexed:
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 11:15 pm
@manored,
(1) All people are stupid.

This is a universal statement. In predicate logic, it looks like this:

(2) ∀x(Px→Sx)

And the English phrasing of (2) is:

(3) For all x, if x is a person, then x is stupid.

This statement, if true, records a "fact" about the world. How might you go about determining that truth value?

To talk about "society as a whole," supposing that society as such is constituted by all people, you suggest that you hold (1). Because if a person falls into society, and if you think its "just society as a whole," then you must hold that all persons found in society are stupid.

But what about society makes them stupid? Suppose

(4) Society is X, Y and Z.

Whatever the values of X, Y and Z, would that guarantee that all or most or many or even few people in society are stupid? What about one person in particular? If you affirm this or deny this last question, either way you could then move on to "broaden your scope" and start validly arguing that "few," "many," "most," etc etc etc are stupid.

So I must ask: Does your set of "most people" include those who do not constitute society? How would you get around faulting "society" without ultimately (and unfortunately) saying "all those people in society"? Are people outside of society "stupid" or X, Y or Z?

(5) Most people in society are stupid.

This is an empirical claim, as most take it. Its truth conditions are contingent on some facts about the world; more specifically, facts about "society." This reason comes not from "people" or "society" or what it means to be stupid, but for the fact that the use of "most" presupposes some standard of comparison. That standard imposes a sets of individuals (presumably members of "society") whereby you must show that the "fewer" set is constituted by "smart" people or "intellectuals."

So your question is fundamentally empirical. Generalizations are empirical. Supposing it is "correct" to affirm (5), what would make it correct? Well, perhaps IQ tests and standardized surveys. But which questions do you ask? How do you know if you have "smart" questions which will accurately and reliably tell you who is smart and who is stupid?

And correct for whom or to whom? When you say "correct," what do you mean by it?

Suppose that I got a perfectly accurate report that showed "most people are stupid," and God told me: It is perfectly accurate report. What a strange supposition!

"Stupid" seems like such a crude and unhelpful term. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for "stupidity"? What does one have to do or be like to be stupid?

And what about 10 people? Is the criteria for one like the criteria for many?

Is "herd mentality" "stupidity"? Is someone stupid for simply following the leader? Do you not follow the leader sometimes?
 
Elmud
 
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 11:48 pm
@nerdfiles,
Stupid is as stupid does.-Forest Gump
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 01:18 am
@manored,
Why nerdfiles do you always turn everything into a mathmatical eqaution. What i mean is it is hard to understand you-i have to go away and get my maths head on and sometimes that can be not vey practical
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 07:22 am
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
Why nerdfiles do you always turn everything into a mathmatical eqaution.


Why do I always--always-all-ways-ALL-ways--get it? Eh? Eh? All.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 07:24 am
@nerdfiles,
nerdfiles wrote:
Why do I always--always-all-ways-ALL-ways--get it? Eh? Eh? All.

No I dont get it?
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 07:43 am
@manored,
Then leave it at not understanding me, yeah?
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 07:44 am
@manored,
That i can do Smile
 
doc phil
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 11:54 am
@Caroline,
There is a tendency to generalise. Perhaps this is due to the attempt to understand the laws of environment. There are consistencies and to understand such consistencies enables us to base our decisions on simple 'truths'. For example, if one's default position is that everyone is stupid, then our interaction in relation to others is less complex, deciding easier.

Are people stupid? I think we are basically trying to take whatever balanced drive we have and live it. In a sense it is taking an urge and seeing it not as something to be reduced, but progressed. For example, eating food can be scoffed or can be savoured. In one there is an impulse to relieve hunger, and in another a drive to experience the variety of tastes. Given that reduction to impulse is easier (probably), then if others in the group reduce to urge release there is greater probability one will reduce to urge release. Herd-mentality, if you like. If such an idea is accurate, then the group has a tendency to re-align, somewhat, to the level of the one with least urge control.

Doc
 
manored
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 03:00 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
The reason why most people are stupid is that they don't agree with me. So in my opinion at least one mass generalization is true.
Smile

Nerdfiles: The stupidity part was mostly an example, what I really want to talk about is generalizations in, well, general Smile You got some impressive question decomposing skills there though, despite the fact of that im not sure if you gave an answer or not Smile

doc wrote:
There is a tendency to generalise. Perhaps this is due to the attempt to understand the laws of environment. There are consistencies and to understand such consistencies enables us to base our decisions on simple 'truths'. For example, if one's default position is that everyone is stupid, then our interaction in relation to others is less complex, deciding easier.

Are people stupid? I think we are basically trying to take whatever balanced drive we have and live it. In a sense it is taking an urge and seeing it not as something to be reduced, but progressed. For example, eating food can be scoffed or can be savoured. In one there is an impulse to relieve hunger, and in another a drive to experience the variety of tastes. Given that reduction to impulse is easier (probably), then if others in the group reduce to urge release there is greater probability one will reduce to urge release. Herd-mentality, if you like. If such an idea is accurate, then the group has a tendency to re-align, somewhat, to the level of the one with least urge control.

Doc
I agree

I didnt quite understand the second paragraph.

Its normal to assume and make generalizations I agree, but it seens that we eventually or instantanly forget that some of ideas we hold are "placeholders" to the real information we dont know, and start actually believing they are true. Reminds me of one thing I heard in a movie once: "Wear a mask for too long and eventually you will forget its not your face"
 
doc phil
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 03:27 pm
@manored,
Yeah, I should have finished it properly. Least urge control (or most impulsive) would be seen as stupid i.e. behaving in an uncivilised manner. Therefore, weaknesses are shared to some degree. By being part of society we become slightly stupider. Perhaps though the reverse is also true. Being part of this forum may well make one clever than one, on one's own, actually is.

Placeholders - are not all words placeholders?

Doc
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 03:33 pm
@doc phil,
doc wrote:
Placeholders - are not all words placeholders?


What does that even mean?
 
manored
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 03:39 pm
@doc phil,
doc wrote:
Yeah, I should have finished it properly. Least urge control (or most impulsive) would be seen as stupid i.e. behaving in an uncivilised manner. Therefore, weaknesses are shared to some degree. By being part of society we become slightly stupider. Perhaps though the reverse is also true. Being part of this forum may well make one clever than one, on one's own, actually is.

Placeholders - are not all words placeholders?

Doc

I agree, being in a society there is no way to not be significantly influenced by it.

I wasnt talking about words, but ideas.
 
doc phil
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 06:07 pm
@manored,
Are not all ideas placeholders?

As Popper suggested, ideas are merely temporary...
 
nerdfiles
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 06:18 pm
@doc phil,
doc wrote:
Are not all ideas placeholders?

As Popper suggested, ideas are merely temporary...


To be a placeholder is to be a placeholder for something. Being "temporary," alone, does not show that an idea is a placeholder.

The idea of my having a cup on my desk is temporary, but this does not show that it is a placeholder.

I use a placeholder so that I might replace it with something more substantial later. I have no intention to replace the idea of my having a cup on my desk with another idea, though that idea may be passively replaced. But to be a placeholder is to have a evaluative sense.

We wouldn't call a patch of land a placeholder for a meteor. To do this, we'd have to entertain a God's-eye-view perspective. God may hold that patch of land to be a placeholder for that space rock, but how would we know this? And why should we speak under the pretension that we do. This idea of all ideas being placeholders just seems prima facie unhelpful.
 
doc phil
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 06:29 pm
@nerdfiles,
I get it.

A placeholder, implies a temporary state. My err.

"And why should we speak under the pretension that we do." Nerdflies

Seems like this is a separate point.

Doc
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 06:41 pm
@nerdfiles,
Mass Generalizations could also be introductions of sorts. In my opinion it seems that modernly we are spider webbing categorically and so for basic social understanding we've always found connections in categorizing.

By truth standards, generalizing, is exactly that. A comfortable description for easier understanding. I think the flaw of mass generalizations isn't the method itself but instead how often we apply it. Its too often an easy reference that doesn't rely on critical thinking. :poke-eye:
 
dynamo
 
Reply Wed 25 Mar, 2009 08:35 pm
@manored,
I think all mass generalizations are false. They think that just because one is white or black or Jew or handicapped or mentally ill; everyone is like this one. it's easy for humans to generalize because we are generally lazy.
 
 

 
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