Chapter 2, “Generalizations” pp. 9-17
Weston considers the use of generalizations in an argument. Often we will bring several specific examples to illustrate a pattern. For instance, based on examples from the Medieval period and the Roman Empire we can conclude that “women in earlier times were married very young” (Weston 2009, 9) Weston reminds the reader that to be persuasive the examples should be accurate and credible. This may require research. Even accurate examples can be difficult to use as persuasive data. Weston’s checklist in this chapter continues.
“7. Use more than one example” (Ibid., 10). In a small sample the writer ca use all the examples. In a larger group, a representative sample is necessary.
“8. Use representative examples” (Ibid., 11).
“9. “Background rates may be crucial” (Ibid., 13). Weston’s example is that simply because he hit the bullseye he is not necessarily a good archer. We must also know information such as his distance and know how much he missed.
“10. Statistics need a critical eye” (Ibid., 14). They must be considered for validity and to see if the information presented is actually pertinent to the discussion.
“11. Consider counterexamples” (Ibid., 15). Weston considers early and wise use of counterexamples as very helpful. They can especially lead to finding particularly specific ways of phrasing arguments.
Use of very specific and clear arguments and examples which are pertinent and accurate is a very valuable tool in creating arguments which will be successful.