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#17 - Glen: An emphasis on law’s purely procedural

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Complete Question Explanation

Point at Issue. The correct answer choice is (E)

Glen argues that law’s primary role should be to create virtuous citizens. Sara responds by observing
that such a role would encourage government to decide what constitutes virtuous behavior, which
would be dangerous. By beginning her counterargument with the conjunction “but,” Sara indicates
that she is in direct disagreement with Glen’s conclusion. This suggests that the main point of issue
between the two speakers is what the primary role of law should be.

Because the two speakers are having a disagreement over an issue that is ethical in nature, factual
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): Since neither speaker comments on the issue of whether citizens are capable of
making good choices without governmental interference, this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice is incorrect because it does not pass the Agree/Disagree Test.
While Glen is likely to agree that virtuousness matters more than the protection of citizens’ rights, it
is unclear whether Sara would disagree with this statement. The relative importance of virtuousness
is not under debate: the issue is whether government should be allowed to regulate it.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice seems attractive, but is incorrect for several reasons: First,
it contains a factual statement, not an ethical one; factual answers cannot address the underlying
judgment issues that form an ethical debate. Secondly, this answer choice does not pass the Agree/
Disagree Test. Although Sara would clearly agree that allowing government to decide what
constitutes virtuous behavior is dangerous, it is unclear how Glen would respond to this statement.
He might concede that there is indeed some inherent danger in allowing government to cultivate
virtue, but that such danger is outweighed by the even greater danger of promoting indifference
towards society’s welfare. Since we cannot prove that Glen would definitively disagree with answer
choice (C), this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): This is the Opposite answer, as there is some evidence that both Glen and Sara
would agree with this statement. Glen claims that an emphasis on law’s purely procedural side
produces a concern with personal rights, which is undisputed by Sara.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice, because Glen would agree with the
statement and Sara would disagree with it. The key to answer choice (E) is the word “should.”
According to Glen, law’s primary role should be to create virtuous citizens. However, for Sara such
a role would lead to an undesirable outcome. Therefore, she would disagree with the claim that
cultivation of virtue should be the primary role of law. Answer choice (E) passes the Agree/Disagree
Test, and is therefore the correct answer choice.