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#24 - Historian: It is unlikely that someone would see

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Complete Question Explanation

Justify the Conclusion. The correct answer choice is (B)

To simplify our discussion of the reasoning involved in this stimulus, let us use the following key:

Seeing history as the working out of moral themes = MT

Holding clear and unambiguous moral beliefs = CB

Inclination to morally judge human behavior = JH

Knowledge of history = KH

The given relationships are as follows:

Premise 1: MT is unlikely unless CB. “Unless” is a necessary indicator (with the remainder of the
statement negated and sufficient), so this statement can be diagrammed as:

MT unlikely :arrow: CB

In other words, if someone is not unlikely to see history as the working out of moral themes, then he
or she must hold clear and unambiguous moral beliefs.

Premise 2: JH decreases as KH increases. You should note immediately that neither of these terms
was present in the first premise and that no inferences can be drawn between relationships which do
not share terms. Technically, this relationship is bi-directional, as the presence or absence of either
term indicates something about the other term.

JH down :dbl: KH up

Conclusion: As KH increases, MT decreases. Again, the correlation here should be diagrammed as

KH up :dbl: MT down

As mentioned previously, we have nothing with which to connect our premises and so no way to
infer a relationship between KH and D. To help identify what the correct answer choice must do to
justify this conclusion, we can rearrange the premises and infer what is missing.

First, we know that KH up is correlated with JH down. Also, by contrapositive, we know that if CB
does not happen, MT is unlikely.

CB :arrow: MT unlikely

In other words, when someone does not have clear and unambiguous moral beliefs, then he or
she is unlikely to think of history as the working out of moral themes. Thus, if we can link a
decrease in one’s inclination to morally judge human behavior (JH down) with not having clear and
unambiguous moral beliefs (CB), we would have the following chain:

KH up :dbl: JH down :dbl: CB down :dbl: MT down

Answer choice (A): “Eliciting moral disapproval” and “exemplify a moral theme” are not present in
the stimulus. In order to justify the conclusion, we need to link the terms in our answer choice with
terms from the stimulus. (A) fails to do so.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. This answer can be diagrammed as:

JH down :dbl: CB down

This relationship allows us to link the two premises together and yield the proper additive inference
about the relationship between knowledge of history and viewing history as working out moral

Answer choice (C): The terms “understand human history” and “attribute moral significance to
historical events” are not present in the stimulus. Do not let the testmakers goad you into assuming
that similar terms are interchangeable. This is almost always incorrect.

Answer choice (D): This answer can be diagrammed as:

CB up :dbl: MT up

This adds a correlation to the existing relationship between moral beliefs and views of history, but
does not allow us to infer a relationship between knowledge of history and views of history. The two
premises would remain unconnected.

Answer choice (E): Objectivity is not at issue here. If this is added to the premises, we could infer
that those who are very knowledgeable about history are less objective about it and less inclined to
morally judge human behavior, but we would still be unable to conclude that they were unlikely to
view history as the working out of moral themes.
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This is justfy question, and the stimuli was too confusing to understand.

While I excluded A, C, and E as they do not include any new information in the stimuli, I was left with B and D.

Then, D happened to have a common information in both premise and conclusion.

The correct answer is B, and I was lucky to get it following the instruction on LR bible.

However, I do not know whether I can totally rely upon the technique for "justify" when I do not understand the stimuli.

Should I try to fully understand the stimuli, or Can I keep using the technique without any risk or getting a wrong answer?
Robert Carroll
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This Justify question is, as you correctly identified, one with new information in the conclusion that is not proven by the premises. The first premise connects moral themes and unambiguous moral beliefs; the second connects moral judgment and knowledge. The conclusion attempts to connect knowledge and moral themes, but the premises have not yet been connected. So I need to connect them by having one item from the first premise and one item from the second premise, the answer of course also having to connect them the right way!

We can diagram to make it apparent why answer choice (B) works:

First sentence:

see history as the working out of moral themes : :arrow: most: clear and unambiguous moral beliefs

Second sentence:

knowledge of history increases :arrow: inclination to judge decreases


knowledge increases :arrow: NOT(see history as the working out of moral themes)

Since I want "knowledge increases" as my sufficient condition and the negation of "see history as the working out of moral themes" as the necessary condition, I want an answer choice that allows me to infer, from the former, the negation of the latter. I already know from the second sentence that "knowledge increases" is sufficient to make "inclination to judge decreases" necessary. If THAT were sufficient to make "clear and unambiguous moral beliefs" false, then it would prove the negation necessary...and via the contrapositive of the first sentence, the negation of "see history as the working out of moral themes."

Thus, my prephrase:

inclination to judge decreases :arrow: NOT(clear and unambiguous moral beliefs)

Given that the conditionals are expressed as likelihood, not certainty, my English prephrase for this condition would be something like "If the inclination to judge decreases, it is less likely that one will have clear and unambiguous moral beliefs."

At this point, my prephrase matches answer choice (B), as required.

Robert Carroll
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This problem took me a long time to map out myself utilizing the explanation here on the forum (I didn't get it correct) - is this a really time consuming question or is there a way to speed it up in the future? Thanks!
Adam Tyson
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It's a difficult and potentially time-consuming question, jenna_d, no two ways about it! The faster approach is the one discussed by reop and Robert earlier in this thread, and that's to take our mechanistic approach, looking for whatever is new in the conclusion and look for an answer that connects the premises to that new thing. Essentially, you need to add a new premise that closes a gap between the premises and the conclusion and makes the conclusion certain to be true.

Follow along with with those two did, and you'll see that even that approach can be a bit of work and takes some time. That's to be expected on a lot of questions towards the end of each LR section, because that's where the toughest questions are typically found.

Some questions have shortcuts, others (like this one) require that you just do the work. If time is short and understanding isn't coming easily, a question like this would be a good candidate to guess on and come back to later if time allowed.

I wish we had a magic bullet for you here! Keep at it, do the work, and know when to say enough is enough and move on. Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
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Hi, I got the question correct using the mechanistic approach and connecting the two new ideas but I seem to have gotten the premises and conclusion wrong.

I thought that the conclusion followed "However" in the second sentence. How would we be able to identify the conclusion in the stimulus?

I am now slightly wary of using the mechanistic approach without being able to identify the premises and conclusions after getting Q25 in section 4 of this same test incorrect. In that question, it was very important to properly identify the premises and conclusion before applying the mechanistic approach because it was shown that one of the premises was superfluous and not to be included in the diagram/when eliminating repeat info. To avoid making a mistake like that where we eliminate a phrase because it was seemingly used twice but actually only used once correctly to properly link up the premises, how do we better identify the premises and conclusions?

Thank you!
Brook Miscoski
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If you were using cue words ("mechanistic approach") to identify the conclusion, you should have focused on the word "Consequently," which often indicates a conclusion of the stimulus.

"Consequently" is a concluding word; "however" is a contrast word. When you get the structure "Some people say X however Y is correct," the clause following "however" may be the conclusion because the author has made a choice between two points of view. In this case, the word "however" did not contrast competing conclusions.

The reason we identify cue words is to assist people who may be having difficulty finding a starting point for evaluating the conclusion and premises of an argument. You should work to outgrow dependency on cue words. If you crossed out the "however" and the "consequently," the logical structure of this stimulus would be unaltered. Generally, it is the relationship of the ideas expressed in the stimulus, rather than strict dependency on cue words, that determines argumentative structure.