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Could someone please explain why (D) is wrong? It seems to me that because it says Shimada criticizes himself for occasional tardiness, we know that he is actually tardy, and that would be sufficient for the necessary condition (that he shouldn't criticize that behavior in others) to follow. I understand that answer choice (D) also brings another condition into play, namely the fact that Shimada criticizes himself, and this would cancel out the first condition in the principle. But the other condition of not vowing to stop it is still being met by Shimada, and isn't that just enough to make the necessary condition follow?

The way I diagrammed: Principle: ~C or ~V :arrow: ~CO

Application: S(~V) :arrow: S(~CO)
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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The problem with answer D, Reductionism, is that it adds nothing to the argument that would justify the conclusion, which is that Shimada shouldn't criticize McFeney. So what if he criticizes himself for his own occasional tardiness? Wouldn't that actually allow him to criticize McFeney, instead of proving that he should not do so?

In order to prove that Shimada should not criticize McFeney, we need to know three things:

1) He is himself tardy at least sometimes

2) He does not vow to stop being tardy

3) He does not criticize himself

The stimulus tells us only that he doesn't vow to stop being tardy. Answer A gives us the other two pieces of the puzzle, while answer D gives us neither of them, and in fact gives us the opposite of the last one.

As I've continued to review this stimulus, I have become more and more convinced that the "or" is really not a traditional or, but actually implies an "and". Imagine a somewhat parallel argument, from the perspective of a strict parent to a teenage child:

"If you don't go to college or join the military right after high school, you must get a regular job."

If I was to say that you did not go to college after high school, would that mean you had to get a regular job? No, because joining the military is still an option. Same with not joining the military - college is an option. It's only if you do not join the military AND you do not go to college that you must get that job! The "or" is actually an implied "and"! Think of this structure as being the same as saying "if you do not do at least one of these two things... ."

Same situation here - if you are tardy and you don't EITHER vow to stop OR criticize yourself (if you don't do at least one of these two things), THEN you should not criticize. As long as you DO at least one of them, go ahead and criticize the other guy all you want! So, if you are yourself tardy, not vowing to stop isn't enough to trigger the conditional rule, because criticizing oneself is still an option.

I hope that helps!

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