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What is a statistical Syllogism and how does the Fallacy arise?

A statistical syllogism starts with premises of broad scope since one of its premises is a statistical generalisation about a population as a whole. (see sheet) It then draws a conclusion of narrow scope about a particular object being part of the target class mentioned in the statistical generalisation. (see sheet) These generalisations are assumptions that are usually true but not always true. Very often these are expressed using the word most, as in most MLC girls go to the canteen. Or, sometimes the word generally is used, as in Cats generally eat Snappy Tom Or, sometimes no specific word is used at all as in Girls eat chocolate.

The fallacy is not the argument itself but the way in which an author assumes that the conclusion of a statistical syllogism is entirely truthful. An example of such a fallacy includes

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SEE SHEET.

Strength of Statistical Syllogisms

As always, the strength of this kind of inductive argument has to do with

how much evidence the premises give for the conclusion and how much support

they give to it. In the case of a statistical syllogism, one way to make

an argument STRONGER is to use a statistical generalization in which a

HIGHER PERCENT of the reference class is cited as belonging to the target

class. So of the two statistical syllogisms

80% of MLC girls are ugly

Betty is an MLC girl

Therefore, Betty is probably ugly.

5% of MLC girls are ugly

Betty is an MLC girl

Therefore, Betty is probably ugly.

The last one is stronger because there is a 15% higher chance that the author will be correst.

So, relating to the concept of a strong statistical syllogism using specific percentages for the previous syllogism and how it may be seen as a potential fallacy, it can be said that if the author stated that Betty is probably ugly although he has a 5% chance of being correct, there is still an assumption that has been made by the author. Because of this assumption, the generalisation drawn by the author is still classified as a fallacy, although it is one that is somewhat reliable being 5% true and only 5% false. Afterall it is possible that Betty is part of the 5% of MLC girls that arent ugly.

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