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#20 - Economist: Global recessionsc can never be prevented

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I think this a circular reasoning. Would Option A have been correct if the statement in Option A is reversed? i.e "Presupposes in a conclusion the premise that it purports to establish"

Also, can you explain why D is right. I can only choose D via process of elimination. It just does make sense to me.
Lucas Moreau
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Hello, Osa,

If you were to change answer choice A like that, it wouldn't make very much sense, I'm afraid. :ras: A is talking about circular reasoning, yes, but that's not the flaw in the stimulus. Premises are not established the way conclusions are, premises are accepted to be true.

Meanwhile, answer choice D is correct because the conclusion is saying, essentially, "We can't predict recessions now, so we'll never be able to predict them, so we'll never be able to prevent them." It's that middle part of the sentence that D shoots down - how do you know we won't get significantly better at predicting recessions? ;)

Hope that helps,
Lucas Moreau
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I chose answer E for this question and still fail to recognize why it is wrong. I thought the stimulus was saying that a GR would not be prevented because they aren't predictable. Thus, I thought it made sense to say that this was an illegitimate inference because although it may be unpredictable there could still be a way to prevent it. Can you explain why E is wrong and why D is correct? Thank you.


Clay Cooper
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Hi Micah,

Thanks for your question. You are almost correct about what the stimulus is claiming - that recessions cannot be prevented. It seems like where you go wrong is in understanding what basis the argument offers for this claim. The argument says that scientists consistently fail to predict recessions, even with the best techniques currently available.

But what if those techniques improve? Isn't it possible that we might then be able to predict, and thus open the door to preventing, recessions? This possibility is what makes answer choice D correct.

Answer choice E is incorrect because it does not actually describe what the stimulus is doing; the stimulus does not infer that something will not occur on the basis that that something is unpredictable. Instead, it argues that we cannot prevent what is not predictable.

Hope that helps!
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Hi, for this question, I understand why D works, but I was also stuck on C. To me the argument had another flaw in that the premise had Preventable -- > Predictable.

But the conclusion says economists fail to ACCURATELY predict recessions. I thought this was not what was originally given in the premise, which mentions "predictable", but accurately or not accurately predict.

Therefore, I thought C could also work because it is saying the original rule: Preventable --> Predictable , and that being predictable ensures preventable.

can you explain why C does not work or if I'm thinking of this correctly? Thanks!
Adam Tyson
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Thanks for the question, Freddy! If we apply the details of the stimulus to the abstract description in answer C, here's what we get:

Treats the predictability of a recession, which is necessary in order to prevent it, as being sufficient to prevent it.

You might guess from my choice of words that answer C is describing a conditional issue, and you would be correct. Answer C is saying that the author starts off with a claim that prevention requires prediction, and then concludes that prediction requires prevention. A mistaken reversal!

That's of course not what happened in the stimulus, for two reasons. First, what he did looked more like a contrapositive than a mistaken reversal - if we are to prevent it, we must predict it, but we cannot predict it so we cannot prevent it. But that's not quite what he said either, is it? Instead, he said something more like "if we are to prevent it, we must predict it, but so far and with the best techniques we have we have failed to predict, so we will never be able to prevent. That is neither a valid contrapositive nor a mistaken reversal, but a time shift flaw! We have not succeeded, so we will never succeed.

Answer C is hard to see as a conditional answer, perhaps, but the words "required" and "assures" are synonyms for necessary and sufficient, and that should clue you in to look into whether the flaw is in fact a conditional one. It's not, so C is out.
Adam M. Tyson
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