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#15 - It has been said that understanding a person

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I'm confused as to why the answer is A and not B.

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Good afternoon,

I am got this question correct when taking this as a practice exam but missed it on the blind review choosing b instead of a. I am struggling with diagramming the conditional statements.

First sentence it is necessary (leads) to forgive entirely to understand a person completely.

Second sentence if it is necessary to understand something completely to forgive entirely THEN self forgiveness is imposssible as it is out of our reach to completely understand ourselves.

I prephrased to look for a flaw that says their is another was other than complete understanding to forgive yourself.

Omg relooking at the answers that is what A says...

Is this right.Any way to make it less confusing.? I felt like it was a layered conditional thought...
Adam Tyson
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Hey there KSL and knutson.m, let me see if I can help. Looks like you have the diagrams about right, KSL. It's confusing because there is a combination of causal and conditional language here - the first sentence tells us that some folks thing complete understanding leads to (causes) complete forgiveness. The second tells us that if that is true, then we can never fully forgive ourselves because we can never fully understand ourselves. In other words, if the cause is absent, the effect must be absent. That fails to consider that there could be other ways to achieve the effect. We could perhaps forgive ourselves even if we do not fully understand ourselves.

Now, let's look at the abstract language of answers A and B and apply the details of the stimulus to them both. Turning abstracts into concrete language can really shed light on them!

Answer A: Treats the failure to satisfy a condition (understanding - you cannot understand yourself completely) that brings about a particular outcome (forgiveness is the outcome) as if (understanding) is the only way to bring about (forgiveness).


Answer B: Confuses something that is necessary for an action to occur (forgiveness is necessary, understanding is the sufficient action - that's already weird, because understanding doesn't seem like an action) with something that necessarily results from that action (forgiveness necessarily results from understanding; understanding causes forgiveness). That sounds like mixing up a conditional claim for a causal claim - just because one thing is sufficient for another, it doesn't have to cause the other. But that's not what the author said - his premise was that if it IS a causal relationship, then in the absence of the cause the effect will also be absent. There's no mistaking a conditional premise for a causal conclusion, and so this answer, attractive as it may seem, does not describe the flaw.


When faced with abstract answer choices in Flaw or Method of Reasoning questions, and in many Principle questions including "which one follows the principle" and "which of the following illustrates the principle", try this sort of checklist approach of applying the details of the stimulus to the language in your contender answers. Clarity will often follow!
Adam M. Tyson
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