- PowerScore Staff
- Posts: 8223
- Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Method of Reasoning—AP. The correct answer choice is (B)
In this stimulus, the author considers the relationship between truth and the aesthetic merit of a poem. The structure of the argument is confusing, and needs careful deconstruction. The author begins with the “some people say” device, in which the author introduces some other argument, before introducing the author’s own. So, the author’s argument actually begins in the second sentence after the word “but,” a connector that people often, though incorrectly, consider to be a premise indicator.
So, the argument begins with the author’s conclusion, which is followed by two premises. Reordered for clarity, the argument is structured as follows:
- Premise: most of the commonplace beliefs of most people are true
Premise: whatever the basis of poetic excellence is, it must certainly be rare rather than common
Conclusion: thus, to argue that expressing true propositions contributes to the aesthetic merit of a poem is misguided
Answer choice (A): Since no support is provided for the claim, it cannot be the argument’s conclusion.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice, because it correctly identifies the claim as a premise, and properly describes its role in the argument, namely to combine with another premise to support the conclusion.
Answer choice (C): This choice presents a half-right, half-wrong description, which can trick the unwary who read just the first part of the choice and then select it. While this choice correctly describes the claim as a premise, it incorrectly states it is the sole support offered for the conclusion.
Answer choice (D): This choice incorrectly states that the claim, which was a premise, does not provide support for the conclusion, but rather provides only background information. To confirm that the claim was a premise, notice that it provides support regarding what may contribute to the basis of poetic excellence, an idea that connects to the concept of aesthetic merit referenced in the conclusion.
Answer choice (E): This choice is incorrect because it describes a conclusion, rather than a premise.