- PowerScore Staff
- Posts: 8224
- Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Strengthen—SN. The correct answer choice is (D)
This question is difficult, because it has a conditional premise and a conditional conclusion, but they do not connect like we would expect them to do. Even worse, the answer choices are quite confusing, and many taking the test got bogged down in them, losing valuable time.
The sole premise is a conditional relationship that has a compound necessary condition: “All anarchist novels have two objectionable characteristics: a subversive outlook and the depiction of wholesale violence.” We can diagram this relationship as:
AN = anarchist novel
SO = subversive outlook
DWV = depiction of wholesale violence
- Sufficient Necessary
PB = permissible to ban
MHTG = would do more harm than good to society
- ANMHTG PB
The question stem identifies this as a Strengthen—Principle question. Since there is much work to be done to provide support for the conclusion, it is difficult to make a precise prephrase. However, the rule provided in the answer choice will likely connect the previously unconnected portion of the premise—the part about the novels’ objectionable characteristics—to the conclusion’s unsupported parts, telling us that it is permissible to ban a novel that does more harm than good.
Answer choice (A): A novel that does not depict wholesale violence is not an anarchist novel, so this answer choice is irrelevant. Also, this rule would tell us when it is impermissible to ban a novel, while the conclusion has to do with when it is permissible to ban.
Answer choice (B): This is a Shell Game answer choice, shuffling the argument terms into new, unrelated configurations. Specifically, the concept of doing more harm than good is here associated with the act of banning itself, rather than with the novel (i.e., a novel that does more harm than good). But notice that even the words “do more harm than good” are jumbled, with the answer choice referring to doing “more good than harm.”
Answer choice (C): This answer choice provides what is required to ban a novel. However, to strengthen the conclusion we need information tending to justify the banning of the novel.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice, because it does the heavy lifting described in the prephrase. Although this answer choice does not explicitly refer to anarchist novels, it relies on the conditional premise, that “all anarchist novels have two objectionable characteristics....” Using the terms identified previously, we can diagram this answer choice as:
N = novel
2+ = two or more objectionable characteristics
We can replace the term N2+ with “anarchist novel,” because we know from the premise that all anarchist novels have two objectionable characteristics. So, the rule provided by this answer choice can be stated as: if an anarchist novel does more harm than good, then it is permissible to ban it. This rule powerfully strengthens the conclusion.
Answer choice (E): As with answer choice (C), this answer choice merely tells us is what is required to ban a novel. Also, it does nothing to support the idea of banning a novel that does more harm than good.