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#73671
Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (B).

The argument here takes place in stages, with a premise, an intermediate conclusion, and a main conclusion, as follows (vastly simplified):

Premise: there's a moral duty to protect your family
Sub Conclusion: if falsely accused, there is a moral duty to hide a family member from police
Conclusion: sometimes it's morally right to obstruct police

We are asked to identify a flaw in this argument, and it should be somewhat apparent that the author has failed to consider that morals are complex things, and that some moral duties might be outweighed by other moral duties. We may have a moral duty to behave in a certain way, but that does not necessarily mean that everything about fulfilling that duty is morally right!

Answer choice (A): No broad generalization is drawn from the example given of a falsely accused family member. The conclusion drawn is not that it is always morally right to obstruct the police, but only that it sometimes may be. That's a fairly narrow conclusion, not a "broad generalization."

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. Matching our prephrase, this answer points out a crucial idea overlooked by the author. Failing to consider that other moral obligations may apply is a serious problem with this argument.

Answer choice (C): An opposite answer, the author actually appears to assume that allowing the police to arrest an innocent person would constitute an injustice! Also, the argument never really gets to the idea of "justice," but is only about obstructing the police in "their work." Maybe the author doesn't even think that police work is about justice?

Answer choice (D): A very attractive answer choice, but the author may be fine with the idea that there is some moral obligation to obey the law. He just thinks that the duty to protect a family member from harm outweighs any such duty of obedience.

Answer choice (E): The author does not take for granted that the parents in the example are correct in their beliefs, because the example is about cases where the parents know that the child has been falsely accused. That use of "known" means that they are correct, and the child in the example has, in fact, been falsely accused. Thus, this answer describes something that did not happen in the argument.
 BoomBoom
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#22373
Hello,

I was wondering why B is the best answer. I was leaning more towards A or C.

Thanks,

Chris
 Nikki Siclunov
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#22392
Chris,

Thanks for your question. Generally speaking, we need a bit more input from you before we delve into a discussion of a particular LR question. Ultimately, it won't be us who are taking the test; it's you! :-) Our goal is to help you cultivate the analytical ability to approach these questions on your own, which is why you need to help us help you first.

Here's what I'd like you to do:
  • 1. Describe your approach to the stimulus. Did you understand the argument, if any, from a structural standpoint? What is the conclusion, and what evidence is the author using in support of that conclusion?

    2. Did you prephrase an answer to the question in the stem? If so, what was your prephrase?

    3. What exactly made the two answer choices you have listed particularly attractive? Did you use any question type-specific test (e.g. Assumption Negation Technique) to differentiate between them?
Thanks,
 BoomBoom
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#22406
Hello,

1. P: In all cultures, it is almost universally accepted that one has a moral duty to prevent members of one’s family from being harmed.

P: few would deny that if a person is known by the person’s parents to be falsely accused of a crime, it would be morally right for the parents to hide the accused from the police.

Conclusion: it is also likely to be widely accepted that it is sometimes morally right to obstruct the police in their work.

2. I wasn't sure how to rephrase this one, I felt like the argument flowed logically, until the conclusion. I felt it was an if then scenario that uses a general premise to make a specific assumption.

3. I was attracted to answer A and C and went with A because at the time it felt like it used the example in the premise to justify the conclusion.

If you could point out where I went wrong and how to better attack this question I would appreciate it!

Thanks,

Chris
 Nikki Siclunov
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#22420
Hey Chris,

Thanks for elaborating. Let's try to simplify the stimulus (always do that, particularly when the information presented is somewhat convoluted or uses a double negative, as in the second sentence):
Premise: We have a moral duty to prevent members our family from being harmed.
Premise/Conclusion: If a member of our family is falsely accused of harm, it would be morally right to hide the accused from the police.
Conclusion: Sometimes, it's morally right to obstruct the police in their work.
The second sentence is an intermediate conclusion (notice the indicator "thus" in the beginning of that sentence), which is in turn used to support the main conclusion (last sentence - "Hence..."). At first glance, the argument makes perfect sense. However, think about it - just because it's morally right to hide the accused from the police doesn't automatically mean that it's also morally right to obstruct the police in their work. What if other considerations take priority? For instance, maybe saving a family member does not justify the obstruction of justice, even if the family member is falsely accused? Perhaps determinations of guilt (or lack thereof) should be left to the courts, not the family members? In short, there can be other moral principles that override the obligation to protect a family member from harm - which is essentially what answer choice (B) suggests.

As far as answer choice (A) is concerned, there is no generalization here. The conclusion is properly qualified by the word "sometimes," suggesting that the applicability of that conclusion does not extend to all cases of obstructing police work, but only to some cases, such as the one described in the preceding sentence. Had the author concluded that, "therefore, it is always morally right to obstruct the police in their work," - that would have matched the flaw described in answer choice (A).

Answer choice (C) should not be a contender. The author assumes that preventing the police from arresting an innocent person obstructs the police in their work, but that's not the same as saying that allowing the police to arrest an innocent person actually assists justice. This is the reverse of what the author was describing.

Hope this clears things up!

Thanks,
 BoomBoom
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#22434
Yes, thank you!

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