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Tok essay - "We are more likely to be mistaken in our generalizations than in our particular observations." Do you agree?

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TOK ESSAY Written by: Alfredo Saltiel Date: 15/ 01/ 03 Words: 1.562 "We are more likely to be mistaken in our generalizations than in our particular observations." Do you agree? Most of the time "the above title is true" even though there are some exceptions. Exceptions can easily blow up a generalization if it doesn't apply in all circumstances. It depends, as a result, on what we are talking about and in what way of knowing we are focusing on. There are ways of knowing where generalizations do exist and information is more accurate such as in statistics or the natural sciences. However, we can never be 100% sure that what we feel, see or believe is accepted as true from everyone. Therefore, I believe that most of the time "this statement applies to reality and as a consequence I agree". Let's see an everyday example in order to verify such a statement. As I was reading a newspaper the other day, my eye caught an article about AIDS and how it has expanded throughout Africa. It said that the reporter of the article traveled to most of the countries in Africa, searching for people who had AIDS in order to prove his thesis which was that nowadays, Africa is being destroyed by AIDS and that many people living in Africa have AIDS. ...read more.


Art is most of the time like that, in conflict between individuals. That happens not only in poems or pictures or even drawings but in all type of art, as we never know that what we feel and interpret when observing or reading an artistic piece, is felt and interpreted the same by others. As a consequence the generalization made is neither right nor wrong. It is of course likely the generalization to be mistaken. In the social sciences on the other hand, such as economics, generalizations are often made out of specific observations and they are not always accurate. This happens because when dealing with people it is very difficult to know how they will react or do something in the future or in the past. This year in economics we talked about a theory called Purchasing Parity Theory (PPP), which claims that, if the exchange rate is at its equilibrium value then an identical good such as a Big Mac (a beef burger of McDonalds) should cost the same in each country. The beef burger is homogenous because it is prepared with the same recipe worldwide. Therefore, if this is true then in all countries, it should have the same price. ...read more.


For the particular generalization in this example there are people who know nothing about the incident or even more about the beliefs of Muslims or what are Muslims. Ethics has to do with the beliefs of individuals and the faith on things, and that's the reason why it is very difficult to be right when making a generalization. It is very hard the generalization made to apply to the beliefs of all people individually. To conclude, in most cases generalizations are mistaken because there are some factors and variables that can alter the result of the generalization and therefore the generalization made to be mistaken. We are more likely to be mistaken in some generalizations when we are not very sure of the subject or when we haven't seen all the aspects of the matter. When we generalize we are neither always right nor wrong. It depends, actually. On the other hand, on specific observations, things are more accurate and more "handy", as there is proof for what is said. Also a specific observation could be an opinion on a matter that nobody can deny. Alternatively mistakes are more likely to be made when generalizations take place, as there are always exceptions such as subjective subjects and uninformed opinions that can destroy a generalization made. Therefore, we are more likely to be mistaken in our generalizations than in our particular observations. ...read more.

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