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#25702
Complete Question Explanation

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

    ..... ..... ..... ..... SO
    AN ..... :arrow: ..... ..... +
    ..... ..... ..... ..... DWV
The conclusion is also a conditional relationship involving anarchist novels (AN), “it is permissible to ban any anarchist novel that would do more harm than good to society.” We can diagram this relationship as:

PB = permissible to ban
MHTG = would do more harm than good to society
  • ANMHTG ..... :arrow: ..... PB
Because the only common term, anarchist novel (AN and ANMHTG), is the sufficient condition in both relationships, we cannot readily see how the relationships work together. This conclusion has no support, having no prior reference in the argument as to what makes it permissible to ban a book. Nor was there a reference to a novel doing more harm than good.

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

  • NMHTG

    + ..... :arrow: ..... PB

    N2+

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.
 netherlands
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#9390
Hey there PS,

Is this a question where it would be advised to use conditional diagramming?

Thanks,
 BethRibet
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#9398
Hi netherlands,

It seems you've correctly identified that you could diagram at least part of this stimulus (the first sentence, which contains a sufficient and two necessary conditions).
If you review the question stem and answer choices, you'll likely note that the primary focus of the question is on the principle that best justifies the conclusion that anarchist novels should be banned. Getting to the right answer choice (D), mostly relies on recognizing which elements of the proposed principle most certainly include this particular case, without adding extra conditions or limitations (as in C, and E, signified by the restriction "only"). So in this instance, in the interests of time limits, I likely would not opt to diagram the conditional relationship. However, if you can do it quickly, and it just helps you to get clear on the meaning of that premise, then it's also not a harmful choice.

Hope this helps!

Beth
 netherlands
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#9549
Ok,

So basically we're trying to find the principle that correctly encompasses the stimulus without like you said without adding limitations or anything else that is unsupported.

So in terms of eliminating:


We would eliminate "A' because we don't know which of the two qualities (subversive outlook or wholesale violence) is necessary - it's possible that both could be necessary. In fact we really don't know anything about the combination between the three that is necessary.

B was just weird and seemed completely unsupported.

C- Again we don't know if it's the subversive outlook that is necessary.

And E because it leaves out the "harmful to society aspect", and the added limitations.

So basically, are the "only if's" eliminating factors - because the stimulus didn't give us those limitations and therefore we can't really assume them?
 Nikki Siclunov
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#9576
Premise 1: Anarchist novel :arrow: 2 objectionable characteristics

Conclusion: Cause more harm than good :arrow: Ban

Your job is to link the pieces together, and (D) does a good job with that: ban a novel that causes more harm than good if the novel has 2+ objectionable characteristics:

2+ obj. characteristics AND causes more harm than good :arrow: Ban
We would eliminate "A' because we don't know which of the two qualities (subversive outlook or wholesale violence) is necessary - it's possible that both could be necessary. In fact we really don't know anything about the combination between the three that is necessary.
(A) describes the types of novels that are impermissible to ban. This would never justify a conclusion in which the author specifies what types of novels are permissible to ban. Just because something is impermissible to do does not mean that the opposite is suddenly permissible.
B was just weird and seemed completely unsupported.
We don't care about the effect of banning the novel (do more good than harm). We care about the effect the novel has (do more harm than good). Otherwise, (B) is pretty close.
C- Again we don't know if it's the subversive outlook that is necessary.

And E because it leaves out the "harmful to society aspect", and the added limitations.

So basically, are the "only if's" eliminating factors - because the stimulus didn't give us those limitations and therefore we can't really assume them?
Again, (C) and (E) specify what conditions are necessary for banning a novel ("only if" refers to a necessary condition). This would never justify a conclusion which seeks to enact a ban: even if the novel satisfies either (or both) of the necessary conditions, this would not render a conclusion of the type we need. Knowing the necessary conditions for banning a novel would only justify a conclusion in which the author refuses to ban a novel, presumably because that novel does not satisfy either (or both) of the necessary conditions. To justify the conclusion here, we are looking for an answer choice that specifies what conditions are sufficient for banning a novel. (D) is the only answer choice that does that.

Let me know if this clears things up.
 carnegie49
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#23802
Since this is a justify the principle question and therefore allows for a broad answer to justify the principle, I was wondering if answer choice D would be correct if it simply stated, 'It is permissible to ban a novel that would cause society more than good' and did NOT include the ending coda, 'if the novel has two or more objectionable characteristics.' Or, for that matter, if an answer choice just said, 'it is permissible to ban any novel.' These are obviously much, much broader than the the material the censor wants to specifically limit; however, they would still cover/censor the type of anarchist novels the censor wants banned. Is this all correct?

Many thanks!
 Clay Cooper
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#23903
Hi Carnegie,

In short, yes. If we give the censors free reign to ban any book that will do society more harm than good, or any book at all, then in either case we have proven that they can ban any anarchist novel, so our conclusion is rock-solid.
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 AspenHerman
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#86459
Hi!

This questions is more topic review-ey/theoretical in nature. I initially dismissed C because of the "2 or more" reasoning that it was an exaggerated answer as only 2 criteria were presented in the stimulus. While it is obviously a strengthen question, I was applying the rules from the must be true wrong answer criteria. Would there be an example of an incorrect answer in this strengeren question that would be knocked out because it was exaggerated, or since we are looking to strengthen the conclusion any which way, would that not apply here?

Thanks!
Aspen
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 KelseyWoods
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#86495
Hi Aspen!

Exaggerated answer choices are an issue in Must Be True questions because we are looking for an answer choice that is directly proven by the facts in the stimulus. If the answer choice is exaggerated and goes beyond the facts in the stimulus, then we can't prove it and it is therefore incorrect.

But in a Strengthen question, we're not looking for an answer choice that we can prove--we're looking for an answer choice that strengthens the argument in the stimulus as much as possible. That means we don't have to worry about exaggerated answer choices--it's perfectly fine to go above and beyond.

In a Strengthen-Principle question like this, we're looking for a rule in the answer choices that strengthens the reasoning in the argument in the stimulus. Answer choice (D) states: "It is permissible to ban a novel that would cause society more harm than good if the novel has two or more objectionable characteristics." This is a rule that applies to all novels that have two or more objectionable characteristics. Since the premises in the argument tell us that all anarchist novels have two objectionable characteristics, that means that anarchist novels meet the criteria of "novel with two or more objectionable characteristics" and so the rule applies. It's okay if the rule also applies to other novels that might have more objectionable characteristics--as long as it also applies to the specific case we have in the argument.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey

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