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#21 - Tania: A good art critic is not fair in the ordinary

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Complete Question Explanation

Point At Issue. The correct answer choice is (B)

Tania argues that good art criticism cannot be separated from emotion, i.e. that such criticism cannot
be truly unbiased. Monique responds by observing that the best art critics render their criticism only
after shedding all of their biases.

A Point at Issue question requires us to identify a statement over which the two speakers are bound
to disagree. Because Tania and Monique are having a disagreement over an issue that is factual in
nature, not ethical (i.e. what good art criticism is, not what it should be), ethical answers will be
incorrect. The correct answer will contain a normative statement that passes the Agree/Disagree Test,
i.e. it must produce responses where one speaker would say, “Yes, I agree with this statement” and
the other speaker would say, “No, I disagree with it.” Unless both responses are produced, the answer
choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (A): This is an attractive answer choice, because it is immediately apparent that
Monique would agree with the statement, “Art is not simply a passion.” In fact, her response contains
a statement identical to the one contained in answer choice (A), which should have been a red flag!
Indeed, even though Monique would agree that art is not simply a passion, Tania gives no indication
as to whether she would agree or disagree with it. She mentions that “art is a passion,” but she may
well believe that art is more than just a passion (she never stated, “art is only a passion”). Since this
answer choice does not pass the Agree/Disagree Test, it is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice, because the two speakers would disagree
over whether good art criticism is sometimes unbiased. Monique would agree that it is, because
according to her the best art critics render their criticism only after shedding all of their biases.
Tania, on the other hand, would disagree: according to her, truly unbiased opinions reveal lack of
engagement with the artwork, and so good criticism of art cannot be separated from emotion. Since
this answer choice passes the Agree/Disagree Test, it is correct.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice should be immediately eliminated because it contains an
ethical statement, not a factual one. Ethical answers cannot address the underlying factual issues
that form a factual debate: neither Tania nor Monique indicates what art critics should feel toward
artworks. The disagreement is over what good art criticism is, not over what it should be.

Answer choice (D): Since neither speaker comments on the issue of whether fairness generally
requires minimizing the influence of bias, this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice contains an exaggeration. Since neither speaker comments
on what is the most important aspect of art criticism, this answer choice is incorrect.
stsai
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Q21. "Tania: A good art critic..."
I chose (C). Is (B) the best answer because we need to link Tania's "cannot be separated from emotion" to Monique's "shedding all of their biases"?

Thanks so much!
Nikki Siclunov
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Tania argues that good art criticism cannot be separated from emotion, that is, it cannot be truly unbiased. Monique responds by observing that the best art critics render their criticism only after shedding all of their biases. Essentially, they would disagree over whether good art criticism is sometimes unbiased. Tania would disagree (it never is), whereas Monique would agree (it is).

Whether art critics should or should not feel emotion towards artworks misses the point (C). The disagreement Tania and Monique are having is factual, not ethical in nature. They aren't arguing over what should be the case, merely over what is the case.
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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Q21:
for the correct answer B, I agree that Tania argues that "a good art critic is sometimes unbiased," but i don't think Monique's argument refers to all "good art criticism". Because he only mentioned "the best art critics", it is still possible that other good but not "the best" art critics render criticism before shedding all of their biases. For this reason I eliminate answer B immediately and chose E instead, since I think if passionate engagement isn't the most important part, as Monique stated, "art is not simply a passion" and general principles of aesthetics will be included, good criticism can be unbiased.

Many thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
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Good question, although I do not agree with your assessment of Tania's and Monique's positions.

Answer choice (B) is correct, because the two speakers would disagree over whether good art criticism is sometimes unbiased. Monique would agree that it is, because according to her the best art critics render their criticism only after shedding all of their biases. This statement clearly shows that, according to Monique, good art criticism is sometimes unbiased (e.g. when it's really really good).

Tania, on the other hand, would disagree: according to her, truly unbiased opinions reveal lack of engagement with the artwork, and so good criticism of art cannot be separated from emotion. Tania's argument has a conditional structure:

Good criticism --> Bias (or "emotion")

In other words, good art criticism is never unbiased.

Answer choice (B) passes the Agree/Disagree test and is therefore correct.

Answer choice (E) contains an exaggeration. Since neither speaker comments on what is the most important aspect of art criticism, this answer choice is incorrect.

Hope this helps!
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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Thanks! It really helps!