Strengthen—PR. The correct answer choice is (D)
In this stimulus, the author attacks Outdoor Sports Company (OSC) for offering customers financial
incentives if they provide the e-mail addresses of their friends. The second half of the stimulus
contains the author’s argument against OSC:
- Premise: OSC offers incentives that encourage people to exploit their personal relationships for profit, which risks damaging the integrity of those relationships
Conclusion: Offering such incentives is unethical.
Note that the question stem is a Strengthen—PR, not a Justify—PR because of the presence of
the word “most” in the question stem, which weakens the force required of the correct answer. In
a Strengthen—PR question, the correct answer will provide a premise that, when applied to the
specific situation in the stimulus, helps support the conclusion. Since a principle is by definition
a broad rule (usually conditional in nature), the presence of the Principle indicator serves to
broaden the scope of the question, which requires a more abstract understanding of the underlying
relationships in the argument.
In this problem, you must select a principle that labels as “unethical” the business practice of
encouraging people to engage in the sort of behavior that could damage the integrity of their
friendships. Answer choice (D) contains a statement that is closest to this prephrase.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice seems attractive, because it alludes to the kind of behavior
described in the stimulus. However, by holding that it is unethical for people to exploit their
relationships for profit, this principle misses the point. The author never meant to attack the
customers for providing the e-mail addresses of their friends; she only attacks the business practice
of encouraging them to do so.
Answer choice (B): The author does not argue that gathering information is itself unethical, nor does
she claim that the manner in which such information was gathered is unethical.
Answer choice (C): One major problem with this answer choice is the phrase “deliberately damage.”
Since there is no evidence the OSC purposefully sought to damage the integrity of its customer’s
personal relationships, this principle cannot strengthen the author’s position.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. If it is unethical to encourage people to
engage in behavior that could damage the integrity of their personal relationships, and the business
practice described in the stimulus poses such risk, then indeed OSC’s actions should be considered
Answer choice (E): Based on the information contained in the stimulus, it seems likely that
providing a friend’s personal information to a company in exchange for a financial reward would
damage the integrity of one’s friendship. However, whether such an action will “almost certainly”
damage the integrity of one’s personal relationship is unclear. Furthermore, answer choice (E) does
not contain a principle establishing that the OSC’s business practice is unethical.