Tag Archives: Get off my lawn

Coddled college kids

Very often I translate arguments into the language of Philosophy 101. I fear this is a bad thing because it tends oversimplify matters. On the other hand, it usually works; this stuff isn’t that hard to do well. Consider this conclusion to a piece about coddled college students:

But what’s too often missing from this picture is the very thing that opponents of political correctness so often decry: a sense of proportion and judgment, and an awareness that what transpires on the radical edges of elite universities is not always an accurate barometer of what’s happening in the wider world.

Not that this needs explaining, but the criticism alleges that instances of coddling (that’s what I’m going to call it) have been greatly exaggerated. This amounts to accusing the people who make such charges of a very basic and completely avoidable reasoning error: hasty generalization. For added irony, in this case, this is what the critics of coddled college kids have accused the coddled college kids of.

By the way, let’s call this the one-two (You are ironically guilty of the very intellectual mistake you are committing!).

Anyway, my interest is with the charge of the author here (rather than the validity of the charge). It’s such a basic error that I marvel it forms the basis of such a long article. Then again, maybe people really just are not that good at this stuff.