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#16 -Journalist: When judges do not maintain strict control

• PowerScore Staff
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• Joined: Feb 02, 2011
#80569
Complete Question Explanation

Weaken. The correct answer choice is (D).

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
theamazingrace
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• Joined: Oct 17, 2020
#83119
I was stuck between A and D. Is A wrong because the stimulus tells us "NOT X then Y" but answer choice A says "if X then Y" so it is a mistaken negation flaw?

theamazingrace
• Posts: 59
• Joined: Oct 17, 2020
#83127
theamazingrace wrote:I was stuck between A and D. Is A wrong because the stimulus tells us "NOT X then Y" but answer choice A says "if X then Y" so it is a mistaken negation flaw?

& would D be correct because it is stronger in its certainity than A.
• PowerScore Staff
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• Joined: Apr 14, 2011
#84477
A is not a Mistaken Negation, theamazingrace, because a Mistaken Negation negates both the Sufficient Condition and the Necessary Condition. It would look like this:

Premise: X Y

Premise: Not X

Conclusion: Not Y

Answer A is not a good weakener for at least two reasons. First, it doesn't matter what happens when the judge do maintain strict control; we only want to know what happens when they do not. In that sense, you're right that this answer is a negation of what we should be looking for.

Second, it's the weak nature of "sometimes." Okay, sometimes that happens, but does it happen most of the time? And how often are the verdicts questionable in those other cases?

You're correct that D is a good strong answer, and it directly attacks the conclusion. It's no longer "whenever" lawyers engage in that behavior that verdicts are doubtful, but perhaps only when that behavior is not counter-balanced by legitimate evidence.
bnlawyer98
• Posts: 6
• Joined: May 27, 2021
#89204
Isn't answer A showing the effect without the cause? Which is one of the ways to attack a basic causal conclusion?
Beatrice Brown
• PowerScore Staff
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• Joined: Jun 30, 2021
#89286
Hi BN! Thanks for your question

You're right that one of the ways to attack a basic causal conclusion is to show that the effect happens when the cause is not present!

However, the stimulus for this question does not rely on causal reasoning, so showing that the effect happens without the cause will not weaken this argument. Instead, the journalist is relying on conditional reasoning in making their argument; the use of words like "when" and "whenever" serve as clues that conditional reasoning is present.

The issue with answer choice (A) is that the journalist's argument is about situations in which judges don't maintain strict control over their courtrooms. Answer choice (A) then tells us something about situations in which judges do maintain this control. But knowing about situations in which judges maintain this control doesn't weaken whether lawyers engaging in obstructive behavior from a lack of strict control affects the validity of the jury's verdict.

Another way to see this is to imagine if you replied to the journalist's argument by offering him answer choice (A) and how the journalist would respond in turn. In this case, the journalist would respond to you as follows: "My argument is about the situations in which the judges are not strict. Just because there are sometimes incorrect verdicts when judges are strict in controlling the behaviors of lawyers doesn't mean that there aren't also incorrect verdicts when judges are not strict."

To sum up, be careful not to pick an answer choice that is a classic way to weaken a basic causal argument when the stimulus does not use causal reasoning. In this case, we could rely on keywords such as "when" and "whenever" to determine that conditional reasoning is used, not causal reasoning.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!
kupwarriors9
• Posts: 104
• Joined: Jul 01, 2021
#89644
Okay weird thing. When I first read the stimulus I immediately thought to pick D; However, when I re-analyzed the stimulus it made me change my pick to A. Doesn't "judges that control lawyers' behavior are known to result sometimes in incorrect verdicts" weaken the premise-conclusion connection more than "obstructive courtroom behaviour where jurors are also presented with legitimate evidence?" Doesn't A offer a possible 3rd cause that could cause jurors to reasonably doubt whether a verdict is correct?
Beatrice Brown wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 5:09 pm Hi BN! Thanks for your question

You're right that one of the ways to attack a basic causal conclusion is to show that the effect happens when the cause is not present!

However, the stimulus for this question does not rely on causal reasoning, so showing that the effect happens without the cause will not weaken this argument. Instead, the journalist is relying on conditional reasoning in making their argument; the use of words like "when" and "whenever" serve as clues that conditional reasoning is present.

The issue with answer choice (A) is that the journalist's argument is about situations in which judges don't maintain strict control over their courtrooms. Answer choice (A) then tells us something about situations in which judges do maintain this control. But knowing about situations in which judges maintain this control doesn't weaken whether lawyers engaging in obstructive behavior from a lack of strict control affects the validity of the jury's verdict.

Another way to see this is to imagine if you replied to the journalist's argument by offering him answer choice (A) and how the journalist would respond in turn. In this case, the journalist would respond to you as follows: "My argument is about the situations in which the judges are not strict. Just because there are sometimes incorrect verdicts when judges are strict in controlling the behaviors of lawyers doesn't mean that there aren't also incorrect verdicts when judges are not strict."

To sum up, be careful not to pick an answer choice that is a classic way to weaken a basic causal argument when the stimulus does not use causal reasoning. In this case, we could rely on keywords such as "when" and "whenever" to determine that conditional reasoning is used, not causal reasoning.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!

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