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Complete Question Explanation

Method of Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (D)

After a few difficult questions, LSAC mercifully ends the section with a question of only moderate difficulty. While there is no conclusion indicator to help you identify the conclusion, there are two other clues provided in this one-sentence stimulus. First, the stimulus begins with a version of the common “some people say” rhetorical device, here in the form of “people may praise...” Next, the final clause of the stimulus begins with the premise indicator “for.” These stimulus features highlight the conclusion, which is sandwiched between them.

The author rejects the idea that an exact replica of the scene depicted is the only thing people appreciate in a painting. Despite the fact that people may praise the talent of a painter capable of realistically portraying a scene, or dismiss as artistically worthless the efforts of abstract expressionists, the author points out that if an exact replica of the scene depicted were the only thing people appreciate in a painting, then photography would have entirely displaced painting as an art form. The inference made by the author is that since photography has not entirely displaced painting as an art form, then an exact replica of the scene depicted is not the only thing people appreciate in a painting.

In this Method of Reasoning question, your prephrase is that the author supports the conclusion with just one piece of evidence, that photography has not entirely displaced painting as an art form. The correct answer choice will describe this use of historical information.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect because the stimulus did not include a claim about what “most” people appreciate. The only explicit statement concerning what people appreciate comes in the conclusion, which is not used to support any other portion of the argument.

Answer choice (B): The conclusion did not defend people’s taste, but rather rejected the notion that the only thing people appreciate in a painting is an exact replica of the scene depicted.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice reverses the structure of the argument, in which the author used a historical fact to draw a conclusion about people’s artistic preferences.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. As described above, the author referenced a historical fact, that photography did not entirely replace painting as an art form, in support of a claim about people’s artistic preferences, namely that an exact replica of the scene depicted is not the only thing people appreciate in a painting.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is incorrect, because the conclusion does not defend the artistic preferences of people.
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I chose B as the correct answer while the correct answer was D.

B states there's an 'aesthetic principle.' I thought there was, because the stimulus states:
-people dismiss abstract painters and praise realistic painters.

D states there's a historical fact. I cannot identify it. Is the fact about photography? How is it historical?

Thank you, Maxim.
 Adam Tyson
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The historical fact here is implied - it is that photography has not entirely displaced painting as an art form. In other words, the fact is that painting is still around. That fact is what our author bases his argument on, that realism is not the sole criterion for appreciation of art.
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I picked E instead D as the answer. Can you explain the difference in the answers?
 Clay Cooper
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Hi htngo12,

Thanks for your question, and welcome to the forum! It's a tremendous resource and I'm glad you're taking advantage of it.

So, the differences between D and E:

-D says 'appealing to a historical fact' while E says 'considering historical context.' The argument does, in fact, consider a historical fact - that painting still exists (as Adam mentioned earlier); 'considering historical context' would be a more appropriate description if the argument had looked at a specific historical period for information about something it discussed; that doesn't happen here.

-D says 'to support a claim about people's artistic preferences' while E says 'to defend the artistic preferences of people.' D's description is, again, more accurate: the author here is claiming that perfect realism cannot be the only preference people have in art, or painting would have been made obsolete by photography, which is superior in this regard. The author is not defending people's artistic tastes; that would involve a subjective value judgment on the part of the author, such as 'People are right to still find painting artistically valuable'; but we see no such value judgement here, only consideration of what must be true about people's artistic tastes based on historical facts.

I hope that helps! And I hope you will frequent the forum.
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Hi Powerscore!

When doing this question I initially ruled out D because I could not find a historical fact in the stimulus. I chose B instead and I can see why that is incorrect, but I am so confused with D. How is the fact that painting is still around considered to be a historical fact? I feel as though I am missing something, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 Jeremy Press
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Hi rek,

It's basically because the fact (that painting is still around) has an implication for history as well: that painting never disappeared, and was never totally replaced by photography, in the past. In that way, the fact (simply a bare statement that painting still exists) has a historical element to it as well (it never died out, i.e. never was replaced by photography).

I hope this helps!


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