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#23 - Counselor: Constantly comparing oneself to those one

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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning—SN. The correct answer choice is (D)

The counselor’s argument is as follows: comparing one’s self to other doing better leads to self-disparagement, and making that comparison to those doing worse leads one to be dismissive. The counselor concludes that avoiding such comparison will likely lead one to be generally more accepting (of self and others). The argumentation can be diagrammed as follows:

Premise:
    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... self-disparaging

    comparing oneself to others ..... :arrow: ..... ..... or

    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... dismissive of others

Conclusion:
    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....self-disparaging

    comparing oneself to others ..... :arrow: ..... ..... and

    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... dismissive of others

As we can see from the above diagram, the author’s conclusion is a mistaken negation, and here we see the logical flaw.

Answer choice (A): The counselor’s argument does not require consideration of this possibility. Regardless, presumably one who makes both such comparisons might end up being both self-disparaging and dismissive of others.

Answer choice (B): The counselor is not required to list all possible benefits in making the argument in the stimulus, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): This is not a flaw—it is a reasonable assertion.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. The counselors conclusion is based on the mistaken notion that if we take away one possible cause of a particular detrimental outcome (non-acceptance), that outcome will be avoided.

Answer choice (E): The counselor does not presume that every comparison ends up with such assessments, but rather makes the point that such comparisons have detrimental results.
olafimihan.k
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Is "almost invariably" the same or equivalent to "definitely"? One of the reasons I eliminated this correct answer choice was because I felt it didn't technically look over the possibility in AC D due to the fact it says "almost invariably".
Claire Horan
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Hi olafimihan.k,

"Almost invariably" means "almost always." Even though this phrase shows that the author is being careful in not suggesting a causal relationship that always takes place, the author still relies in his/her argument on the cause to usually lead to the effect. A mistaken negation can occur (as it does here), whether a causal relationship is "can," "sometimes," "most of the time," and so on because regardless of this language the author still assumes that the cause is the only thing that can lead to the effect. The author still assumes that the effect is not caused by anything else.

I hope this explanation was helpful!

Claire
olafimihan.k
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Thanks!
Pragmatism
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Administrator wrote:Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning—SN. The correct answer choice is (D)

The counselor’s argument is as follows: comparing one’s self to other doing better leads to self-disparagement, and making that comparison to those doing worse leads one to be dismissive. The counselor concludes that avoiding such comparison will likely lead one to be generally more accepting (of self and others). The argumentation can be diagrammed as follows:

Premise:
    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... self-disparaging

    comparing oneself to others ..... :arrow: ..... ..... or

    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... dismissive of others

Conclusion:
    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....self-disparaging

    comparing oneself to others ..... :arrow: ..... ..... and

    ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... dismissive of others

As we can see from the above diagram, the author’s conclusion is a mistaken negation, and here we see the logical flaw.

Answer choice (A): The counselor’s argument does not require consideration of this possibility. Regardless, presumably one who makes both such comparisons might end up being both self-disparaging and dismissive of others.

Answer choice (B): The counselor is not required to list all possible benefits in making the argument in the stimulus, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): This is not a flaw—it is a reasonable assertion.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. The counselors conclusion is based on the mistaken notion that if we take away one possible cause of a particular detrimental outcome (non-acceptance), that outcome will be avoided.

Answer choice (E): The counselor does not presume that every comparison ends up with such assessments, but rather makes the point that such comparisons have detrimental results.



So, I chose the right answer only because I eliminated the rest. My concern is with the way this answer choice is worded. I got two interpretations from this answer choice:
— 1. If we follow the conclusion to the end, then apply this answer choice it would seem to make sense. Because, even if, we didn't take it to mean as a Mistaken Negation, but as a contrapositive, the fact that the necessary condition is negated, it doesn't tell me much about the sufficient condition; therefore, deeming that relation obsolete and the self-disparalgment and divisive of other could lead from something else.

— 2. This is taking the actual Mistaken Negation into mind. If we negate the sufficient condition and necessary condition, then the two necessary conditions could be interpreted in their own manner.

My issue was with the conclusion and answer choice. My understanding of formal logic is the negation only provides us with a logic opposite and not polar opposite. So, if that is the case, the logic opposite to the incorrect negation, from my understanding, ought to read, "NOT comparing oneself to others -----> NOT self-disparagin (OR) NOT dismissive of others. However, the conclusion provided us with polar opposite, which threw me off. So, I was looking for an answer choice that addressed such issues with respects to the conclusion.Also, could you please explain in your diagramming of Mistaken Negation, why did you turn the "or" into "and," when the latter's conversion is used for a contrapositive. In addition, if "or" is not converted to an "and" in a Mistaken Negation, as I am proposing with this diagram, does that alter the meaning significantly to shy me away from the correct answer choice? As for the answer choice, I am curious, is this answer choice proposing that since logical fallacy has been committed, the SN rule is absolved, leaving both the sufficient and necessary condition to be triggered by completely different circumstances or simply just the necessary condition to be triggered by difference circumstances as the answer choice proposes?

Thanks
Adam Tyson
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This question presents an interesting mix of both conditional and causal reasoning, pragmatism, and while our explanation focused on the conditional aspects, I find it more useful to focus on the causal. The author has said that comparing oneself to others in certain ways causes us to view ourselves and others in certain ways, and that therefore refraining from making those comparisons (removing the cause) will result in us not viewing ourselves in those ways (the effect goes away). This isn't structured like a classic causal question, where there author notes a correlation and then concludes that a causal relationship exists, but instead he starts with certain causal claims as premises. Nevertheless, we can use classic causal attacks to show the problem here.

Answer D is simply a case of "where the cause is absent, the effect may nonetheless be present". Just because we stop comparing ourselves to others doesn't mean that we won't be dismissive or disparaging, because other things might cause us to view ourselves or others in those same ways.

Take another look at this one through that causal lens, and I think it will come more clearly and easily into focus. The conditional approach here is correct, but may not be as clear to some folks.

Oh, and as to the "and/or" thing, it's our author of the stimulus who converted the "or" to "and" in his conclusion. That's what we were diagramming there - his argument, with all of its flaws.

Let us know if that helps!
Adam M. Tyson
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Pragmatism
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That was very insightful thank you very much.
Dianapoo
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Hi!

I was doing this question, and was wondering what would happen if I changed the last sentence to "For the most part, those who refrain from comparison themselves to others will most likely be, on the whole, self-accepting and accepting of others."

Does this do a better job at making the cause sound like a partial cause? I read about partial cause in the newest in the beautiful Bible - I hope I'm doing it right! If it were written this way, D probably wouldn't be the answer since the Counselor doesn't assume there can't be any other causes!

The way it's written now is "those who for the most part refrain from comparing themselves to others..." which can be written as "those who refrain from [comparing themselves to others for the most part]..." To me, the way the stimulus phrased it is not a partial cause, which definitely warrants D in my mind, but I was just wondering how my journey to getting to the answer is!