Justify the Conclusion-SN. The correct answer choice is (C)
Whenever the stimulus begins by outlining someone else's argument, you can be sure that the author's conclusion will be the exact opposite of theirs. The best approach for understanding the gist of the stimulus is to simplify its premises and conclusions and quickly diagram the conditional relationships that underlie them. It is crucial to focus only on the most important aspects of the argument and not get distracted by unnecessary details (such as why freedom of thought might arguably be a precondition for intellectual progress):
- Premise: Intellectual Progress → Intellectual Discipline (IP requires ID)
Conclusion: Intellectual Progress → Freedom of Thought (FT not necessary for IP)
The conclusion only follows if intellectual discipline and freedom of thought were incompatible with one another, i.e. if intellectual discipline precludes freedom of thought (or, alternatively, if freedom of thought precludes intellectual discipline). A quick scan through the five answer choices reveals that only answer choice (C) matches this description.
Answer choice (A): By implying that intellectual discipline might hinder intellectual progress, this answer choice actually weakens the author's conclusion and is therefore incorrect.
Answer choice (B): What value a society places on intellectual progress is irrelevant to this argument, and placing a high value on such progress is certainly not required to justify the conclusion. This answer choice is incorrect.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. If freedom of thought and intellectual progress are mutually exclusive, i.e. if the presence of one invariably leads to the absence of the other, the conclusion that freedom of thought is not a precondition for intellectual progress is fully justified. Notice the strong language used by answer choice (C): thinkers invariably lack intellectual discipline. This is a common feature of correct answers in Justify the Conclusion questions, as their goal is to definitively prove the conclusion.
Answer choice (D): This answer choice supports the counterargument that the author is attempting to refute and is therefore incorrect.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice is only attractive because it addresses some of the elements that we need to connect in order to prove the conclusion. Unfortunately, establishing that intellectual discipline is necessary for having freedom of thought does not amount to a definitive proof of the conclusion.