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Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If you make an induction, and your opponent grants you the particular cases by which it is to be supported, you must refrain from asking him if he also admits the general truth which issues from the particulars, but introduce it afterwards as a settled and admitted fact; for, in the meanwhile, he will himself come to believe that he has admitted it, and the same impression will be received by the audience, because they will remember the many questions as to the particulars, and suppose that they must, of course, have attained their end.

Example

They came yesterday when we sent them that message, which is clearly an effective communication, isn't it?

We cut costs and still managed to deliver ok, which shows the inefficiency in the system. We're not unusual and we can cut costs elsewhere in the same way, can't we?

Discussion

Inductive reasoning is effectively generalization, starting with a specific case and deriving a rule that is more widely applicable. This can be a fragile assumption that will not stand up to rigorous challenge, so if the other person does not challenge, do not put your neck on the block!

Because the other person has accepted your argument and when this contains unspoken assumptions, when the other person accepts you arguments without challenge they must also accept the underlying assumptions.

This process can be helped by adding tag questions that subtly nudge the other person into agreeing.

'Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases' is the eleventh of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Inductive reasoning, Assumption principle, Consistency principle, Generalization

 

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