Generalization is the widely held doctrine that says that if something behaves in a certain way in one context, that it will always behave that way in that context without respect to place or time. Generalization forms the basis of the scientific method (or objectivist epistemology) and it is generally assumed that if the laws of physics behave a certain way at a certain point in time and at a certain place (ie. 20th century, earth) that those laws (generalizations) necessarily apply to all points in time in all places. The idea that the laws of physics are necessarily fixed is a presupposition that itself is currently untestable by the scientific method, rendering the scientific method itself untestable. Thus, all generalizations are based on an assumption that remains inherently untestable, and therefore relevant only insofar as it is useful in a particular context.

Gen`er*al*i*za"tion (?), n. [Cf. F. g'en'eralisation.]

1.

The act or process of generalizing; the act of bringing individuals or particulars under a genus or class; deduction of a general principle from particulars.

Generalization is only the apprehension of the one in the many. Sir W. Hamilton.

2.

A general inference.

 

© Webster 1913.

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