"Generalization" (was Rick's World)

[From Bill Williams 31 January 2004 2:00 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.31.1235 MST)]

>Bill Williams 31 January 2004 11:12 AM CST --

Please consider my criticism of Kenny's use of "generalization" in
a post today. In my understanding, the term "generalization" means
without exception. So, in this useage, the term "overgeneralization"
would be redundant, that is, if there are no exceptions to a proposition,
it wouldn't be possible to be "overgeneralizing" because the basic
term represents an extreme value by itself.

There may be a cultural dialect problem here.

To a psychologist, "generalization" means something quite different.
It means applying the observed characteristics of a concrete example
to similar entities of which the corresponding characteristics are
not directly observed. Terms such as "generalization gradient" and
"overgeneralization" are used in reasonably well-understood senses.
As an example of overgeneralization, a child might learn that a
certain object hanging on the wall is a "clock" and then says that a
circular plate is a "clock", have overgeneralized the attribute label
"clock" to all circular disk-like objects.

The term "in general" technically means "in all cases", but even
there, in everyday language, it just means "usually". So, "in
general" messages in the economic thread(s) tend toward the personal,
not all of them do so.

Language matters, but one discipline may use a particular technical
term otherwise than another discipline uses it. Vide "perception."

Martin

[From Bill Williams 31 January 2004 4:13 PM CST]

From Martin Taylor 31 January 2004

[From Bill Williams 31 January 2004 2:00 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.31.1235 MST)]

>Bill Williams 31 January 2004 11:12 AM CST --

Please consider my criticism of Kenny's use of "generalization" in
a post today. In my understanding, the term "generalization" means
without exception. So, in this useage, the term "overgeneralization"
would be redundant, that is, if there are no exceptions to a proposition,
it wouldn't be possible to be "overgeneralizing" because the basic
term represents an extreme value by itself.

There may be a cultural dialect problem here.

# After reading your discussion below I agree.

To a psychologist, "generalization" means something quite different.
It means applying the observed characteristics of a concrete example
to similar entities of which the corresponding characteristics are
not directly observed. Terms such as "generalization gradient" and
"overgeneralization" are used in reasonably well-understood senses.
As an example of overgeneralization, a child might learn that a
certain object hanging on the wall is a "clock" and then says that a
circular plate is a "clock", have overgeneralized the attribute label
"clock" to all circular disk-like objects.

The term "in general" technically means "in all cases", but even
there, in everyday language, it just means "usually". So, "in
general" messages in the economic thread(s) tend toward the personal,
not all of them do so.

Language matters, but one discipline may use a particular technical
term otherwise than another discipline uses it. Vide "perception."

# I think you may have identified a source of difficulty, aside from
# the credentialism issue, when economists talk to psychologists.
# But then the imps school (where imps go to become really difficult)
# prepares them to cope with this difficulty by being flexible.
# Except for you kindly bringing this matter to my attention, I would
# have thought that when someone said "overgeneralization" they were
# displaying evidence of inferior linguistic background. Sort of like
# Bill Powers does when he becuse exasperbated at my innovative spelling.
# Now that were on the subject, Mom thought English, and American
# spelling for that matter, was a bunck of rot. Mom was capable, you
# understand, of condecending to a whole goddam languge. And despite
# being a _Phi Beta Kapa_ was also quite capable of telling some one
# that she didn't give a shit. (Does this answer another one of your
# questions DAvid?)

ยทยทยท

#
# But, the basic topic here really has to do with misunderstandings
# between psychologists and economists.

Lopes, Lola L. 1994 "Psychology and Economics: Perspectives on
  Risk, Cooperation and the Marketplace" Annu Rev Psycholog
  45 197-227
    "If it goes too far to say that psychologists and economists
    view one another with fear and loathing, there is at least
    suspicion and distaste. " p. 198.

# Lola, despite being her self a psychologist, We have yet to discuss
# what the effect of becoming a credentialized expert has on
# psychologists modes of self-presentation, I think Lola's perception
# is an acute one.

# I would claim that for, the most part, I am bilingual being able to
# speak both psychology and economics with some fluency. This may have
# been the source of a perception that I was "withholding information"
# when actually all that I was doing was answering a question about
# economics in the language of economics. I am puzzled, however, as to
# what was expected of me. Economic theory is like the Koran. It can
# only be understood in terms of the language of Economics. Just like
# the Koran can not be translated. The Koran is only the Koran when it
# is expressed in classical Arabic.
#
# However, I suspect that Martin's extra-ordinary civil mode of expression
# in pointing out to me that psychologists even the non-credentialed ones
# use words in a ways that has been set by a tradecraft that is all its own.
# I will admit to not always being aware of the psycholgists secrets--
# aside from the fact that they seem to think that they can tell everyone # else how to talk. And, spell too, in Bill's case.

Good hearing from you Martin

Bill Willams