Immanuel Kant also made a useful set of categories, which you might want to know about. He made a distinction between analytical judgements and synthetic judgements. He did this to prove the existence of God. We shall not follow him quite that far. The first is when the predicate is included in the object and the second is where the predicate is not included in the object.[1] Confused? Don’t be. Here is a simple example.


“The cat is an animal.” Here the predicate “is an animal” must be included in the catness of being a cat, after all, all cats are animals.


“The cat is lazy.” Here the predicate “is lazy” is not an inevitable part of the subject “cat”. Some cats are lazy others are not. Therefore, laziness is not a necessary part of being a cat.


Now the first is an analytical judgement. It analyses the subject cat to extract predicates relevant to all cats.


While the cat’s laziness is a synthetic judgement, it marries the predicate laziness to that cat.


Why am I telling you all this? Well this is useful with regard to generalisations. Generalisations are very useful. But one has to beware. They are also usually inaccurate. Generalisations pretend that synthetic judgements are analytical ones. A lot of trouble starts right at that point. That is why I want to tell you about this. It helps always being aware of what you are saying. Are you making a justifiable generalisations? Do you know the conditions under which your generalisation holds?


[1] A predicate is that part of the sentence, which says something about the subject of the sentence.