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#24 - Explanation must be distinguished from justification.

ioannisk
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I'm lost with this one. The last statement is a conditional statement but I can't really understand it.

Could someone explain the question in full? i'm lost!

thank you!
Ron Gore
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Hi, ioannisk!

This certainly is a dense stimulus, which can distract from the realization that your task is fairly simple. This is a Must Be True question, so your task is to find the answer choice that provides either a restatement of one of the facts in the stimulus, or an inference drawn from a combination of the facts.

When a Must Be True question contains conditional reasoning, as does this one, your prephrase should anticipate that the correct answer will probably test you on the conditionality. Often, though not always, the correct answer will involve a contrapositive of a conditional statement in the stimulus, while an incorrect answer may try to trip you up with a Mistaken Reversal.

Your first task is to inventory the facts in the stimulus and see if any additive inferences are possible. Here are the facts presented by the stimulus:

Fact: explanation must be distinguished from justification

Fact: every human action potentially has an explanation; that is, with sufficient knowledge it would be possible to give an accurate description of the causes of that action

Fact: an action is justified only when the person performing the action has sufficient reasons for the action

Fact: according to many psychologists, even when there is a justification for an action, that justification often forms no part of the explanation

Fact: the general principle, however, is that only an action whose justification, that is, the reasons for the action, forms an essential part of its explanation is rational

I know that separating the stimulus out like this is not necessarily comforting. However, it is important to get an idea of the distinct facts presented. That is not to say you would write this break-down on your test paper. Rather, you simply need to be aware that each of these are facts presented, and the correct answer could contain a restatement of any of them.

Taking a big picture look at the stimulus, it offers definitions for the terms “explanation” and “justification” that it then applies in the final sentence. That final sentence is conditional (as were most of the others). The correct answer choice, (E) relates to that conditionality.

You could diagram the last sentence: rational → justification (reasons for the action) essential part of explanation.

Choice (E) may be diagrammed: any human actions rational → reasons sometimes causes of actions

While (E) may seem impermissibly expansive, the language of the necessary condition actually makes it quite modest in scope. Another way to say (E) is: if any human action is rational, then it must be the case that, on at least one occasion, the reasons for the action were causes of the action. This statement is supported by the final sentence of the stimulus, and so is correct.

(A) is incorrect because the stimulus provided that “explanation” must be distinguished from “justification,” not that the absence of an explanation is required for the justification of human action.

(B) is incorrect because it reverses the relationship in the final sentence, stating that the presence of a single reason is sufficient to show the action is rational. The stimulus provided that having reasons was necessary for an action to be rational.

(C) is incorrect because it exaggerates the information given in the third sentence.

(D) is incorrect because it distorts the information in the second half of the second
sentence.

Hope this helps. Let me know if it is unclear.

Ron
ioannisk
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Ron Gore wrote:Hi, ioannisk!

This certainly is a dense stimulus, which can distract from the realization that your task is fairly simple. This is a Must Be True question, so your task is to find the answer choice that provides either a restatement of one of the facts in the stimulus, or an inference drawn from a combination of the facts.

When a Must Be True question contains conditional reasoning, as does this one, your prephrase should anticipate that the correct answer will probably test you on the conditionality. Often, though not always, the correct answer will involve a contrapositive of a conditional statement in the stimulus, while an incorrect answer may try to trip you up with a Mistaken Reversal.

Your first task is to inventory the facts in the stimulus and see if any additive inferences are possible. Here are the facts presented by the stimulus:

Fact: explanation must be distinguished from justification

Fact: every human action potentially has an explanation; that is, with sufficient knowledge it would be possible to give an accurate description of the causes of that action

Fact: an action is justified only when the person performing the action has sufficient reasons for the action

Fact: according to many psychologists, even when there is a justification for an action, that justification often forms no part of the explanation

Fact: the general principle, however, is that only an action whose justification, that is, the reasons for the action, forms an essential part of its explanation is rational

I know that separating the stimulus out like this is not necessarily comforting. However, it is important to get an idea for the distinct facts presented. That is not to say you would write this break-down on your test paper. Rather, you simply need to be aware that each of these are facts presented, and the correct answer could contain a restatement of any of them.

Taking a big picture look at the stimulus, it offers definitions for the terms “explanation” and “justification” that it then applies in the final sentence. That final sentence is conditional (as were most of the others). The correct answer choice, (E) relates to that conditionality.

You could diagram the last sentence: rational → justification (reasons for the action) essential part of explanation.

Choice (E) may be diagrammed: any human actions rational → reasons sometimes causes of actions

While (E) may seem impermissibly expansive, the language of the necessary condition actually makes it quite modest in scope. Another way to say (E) is: if any human action is rational, then it must be the case that, on at least one occasion, the reasons for the action were causes of the action. This statement is supported by the final sentence of the stimulus, and so is correct.

(A) is incorrect because the stimulus provided that “explanation” must be distinguished from “justification,” not that the absence of an explanation is required for the justification of human action.

(B) is incorrect because it reverses the relationship in the final sentence, stating that the presence of a single reason is sufficient to show the action is rational. The stimulus provided that having reasons was necessary for an action to be rational.

(C) is incorrect because it exaggerates the information given in the third sentence.

(D) is incorrect because it distorts the information in the second half of the second
sentence.

Hope this helps. Let me know if it is unclear.

Ron

"Fact: the general principle, however, is that only an action whose justification, that is, the reasons for the action, forms an essential part of its explanation is rational"

Mechanically, I can figure out that ratonal is the suffiecent conditon while the former is the necessary. But I can't seem to understand the statement. Other conditional statements I can understand and descipher the sufficent/necessary conditions without paying much attention to the mechanical parts (keywords such as Only and If).

Is there any way you could explain that statement better for me to understand it better or should I explain my question better?
Steve Stein
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Hi ioannisk,

That is a tough one! Ron's breakdown is right on point; I'll try to build upon it. The author provides that any act can be explained, but the only acts that have justification are the ones driven by reason. And psychologists say that even when there is justification for an act, the justification often doesn't really explain what drove (or caused) the act.

The closing principle: An act is only rational when its justification (the actor's reason for the act) is a vital part of the explanation (what drove the act). As diagrammed above: action rational :arrow: reason vital part of the explanation

This supports choice E: if there are rational acts, they must be caused by reason.

Very difficult question--please let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
PowerScore Test Preparation
deddiekated
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Hello, I hope people still read these posts...because I need help!

Its partly about this stimulus and partly from another but would someone be kind to explain why the last sentence from this question is diagrammed

rational --> justification forms an essential part of explanation

BUT

"The only food in Diane's apartment is in her refrigerator." is diagrammed:

Food --> Fridge ???

(This sentence is from Answer choice A of PT54 Section 2 #23. I saw somewhere that the conditional is diagrammed as above).

THANK YOU!!
Ricky_Hutchens
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Hi deddiekated,

One way to think about these diagrams is that if you know you have the left side, then you must also have the right side. That is what the arrow means. So let's look your examples.

If we know something is rational, then we know that justification forms an essential part of the explanation. That is what the diagram says and it matches the sentence.

Now your second example is worded differently but the diagram still works. If there is food in Diane's apartment then it is in her refrigerator. That's what the diagram says and that is what the sentence says.

Hope that helps.
deddiekated
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Thank you for your reply!

I guess to clarify my question, I learned from Powerscore bibles that anything that comes after ONLY is a necessary condition. But I can't seemed to figure out why "only food in the apartment" becomes a sufficient condition, whereas "only an action whose justification forms an essential part of its explanation" becomes a necessary condition...

Can you help me one more time please? :(
Robert Carroll
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deddiekated,

Indicator words are a good start to identifying parts of a conditional, but you do need to make sure that the conditional diagram makes sense of the sentence in the stimulus of which it's supposed to be the diagram.

In this stimulus, we have one of the two following things:

rational :arrow: justification forms essential part of explanation

or

justification forms essential part of explanation :arrow: rational

In order to determine which of these is the correct diagram of the conditional, and which is the Mistaken Reversal, paraphrase each:

"Rationality of an action requires its justification to form an essential part of its explanation."

or

"Whenever an action's justification forms an essential part of its explanation, that action is rational."

The former is the correct paraphrase of the stimulus, so the former diagram is the correct one. The stimulus is saying what rationality requires - only actions that meet these conditions are rational actions.

Compare that to PT 54, Section 2, #23, answer choice (A):

food :arrow: fridge

or

fridge :arrow: food

Either

"All food in Diane's apartment is in her fridge."

or

"All food in Diane's fridge is in her apartment."

The latter doesn't sound right - unless her fridge isn't in her apartment, wouldn't it be a trivial statement to say that all food in her fridge is in her apartment? Whether this is an obviously true statement or not, the point is that this doesn't match the first sentence of answer choice (A). Thus, it's not the correct paraphrase. It doesn't sound right because it doesn't match the statement made. So, the first diagram is correct.

Getting the diagram in the right order is essential, as the Mistaken Reversal is going to make the right answer look wrong, and potentially make wrong answers look right! However, you don't always have time to engage in a very lengthy process of diagramming twice, making two paraphrases, and checking each. To save time, when you think you have two things related via a conditional but are unsure which is sufficient and which necessary, ask which one requires the other to be true. The sufficient requires the necessary. This should give you the correct order of the conditional.

Robert Carroll
deddiekated
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Thank you so much for taking the time Robert! Your explanations really helps! :)
MikeJones
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Would this be an accurate reading as well? The staff's description seemed much clearer but I came across this in review and found it helpful. At least it got me to understand the right answer, since I took "essential" as a conditional indicator from the last sentence.

In the second sentence, you get this statement:
E (Explanation) ---> AD (Accurate description of causes)

In the third sentence, a second statement:
J (Justification) ---> SR (Sufficient reasons for action)

Fifth sentence:
R--->E--->AD--->J--->SR

Answer Choice:
R--->SR