Generalization


Generalization

Generalization is a foundational element of logic and human reasoning. Generalization posits the existence of a domain or set of elements, as well as one or more common characteristics shared by those elements. As such, it is the essential basis of all valid deductive inference. The process of verification is necessary to determine whether a generalization holds true for any given situation.

The concept of generalization has broad application in many related disciplines, sometimes having a specialized context-specific meaning.

For any two related concepts, "A" and "B"; A is considered a generalization of concept B if and only if:
* every instance of concept B is also an instance of concept A; and
* there are instances of concept A which are not instances of concept B.

For instance, "animal" is a generalization of "bird" because every bird is an animal, and there are animals which are not birds (dogs, forinstance). (See also: specialization).

Hypernym and hyponym

This kind of "generalization" versus "specialization" (or "particularization") is reflected in either of the contrasting words of the word pair hypernym and hyponym. A hypernym as a generic stands for a class or group of equally-ranked items, such as "tree" does for "beech" and "oak"; or "ship" for "cruiser" and "steamer". Whereas a hyponym is one of the items included in the generic, such as "lily" and "daisy" are included in "flower", and "bird" and "fish" in "animal". A hypernym is superordinate to a hyponym, and a hyponym is subordinate to hypernym.

Cartographic generalization of geo-spatial data

Generalization has a long history in cartography as an art of creating maps for different scale and purpose. Cartographic generalization is the process of selecting and representing information of a map in a way that adapts to the scale of the display medium of the map. In this way, every map has, to some extent, been generalized to match the criteria of display. This includes small-scale maps, which cannot convey every detail of the real world. Cartographers must decide and then adjust the content within their maps to create a suitable and useful map that conveys geospatial information within their representation of the world.

Generalization is meant to be context-specific. This is to say that correctly generalized maps are those that emphasize the most important map elements while still representing the world in the most faithful and recognizable way. The level of detail and importance in what is remaining on the map must outweigh the insignificance of items that were generalized, as to preserve the distinguishing characteristics of what makes the map useful and important.

ee also

* Abstraction
*"Ceteris paribus"
*Generic
*Generic antecedent
*inheritance (object-oriented programming),
*Faulty generalization
*Hasty generalization
*Homotopy lifting property
*"Mutatis mutandis"
*-onym
*Class diagram
*Ramer-Douglas-Peucker algorithm


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Generalization — Gen er*al*i*za tion, n. [Cf. F. g[ e]n[ e]ralisation.] [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • generalization — I noun appraisal, assumption, attitude, broad statement, conclusion, estimate, estimation, general statement, generality, guide, hypothesis, illation, imprecise statement, inexact statement, inference, observation, postulate, postulation, premise …   Law dictionary

  • generalization — 1761, “act of generalizing,” from GENERALIZE (Cf. generalize) + ATION (Cf. ation). Meaning “a general inference” is from 1794 …   Etymology dictionary

  • generalization — (Amer.) gen·er·al·i·za·tion || ‚dÊ’enÉ™rÉ™lÉ™ zeɪʃn / laɪ z n. act of generalizing; general statement or conclusion; (Psychology) act of reacting to a new stimulus as to a similar stimulus (also generalisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • generalization — [jen΄ər ə li zā′shən, jen΄rəl izā′shən] n. 1. the act or process of generalizing 2. a general idea, statement, etc. resulting from this; inference applied generally …   English World dictionary

  • generalization — n. 1) to make a generalization 2) a broad, sweeping; valid generalization 3) a generalization about 4) a generalization that + clause (it is a valid generalization that exercise promotes good health) * * * [ˌdʒen(ə)rəlaɪ zeɪʃ(ə)n] sweeping valid… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • generalization — /jen euhr euh leuh zay sheuhn/, n. 1. the act or process of generalizing. 2. a result of this process; a general statement, idea, or principle. 3. Logic. a. a proposition asserting something to be true either of all members of a certain class or… …   Universalium

  • generalization — (BrE also isation) noun ADJECTIVE ▪ broad, gross (esp. AmE), hasty, sweeping ▪ abstract, vague ▪ useful …   Collocations dictionary

  • generalization — gen|e|ral|i|za|tion also generalisation BrE [ˌdʒenərəlaıˈzeıʃən US lə ] n 1.) a statement about all the members of a group that may be true in some or many situations but is not true in every case ▪ You can t make generalizations about what men… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • generalization — [[t]ʤe̱nrəlaɪze͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] generalizations N VAR A generalization is a statement that seems to be true in most situations or for most people, but that may not be completely true in all cases. He is making sweeping generalisations to get his… …   English dictionary


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