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Complete Question Explanation

Justify the Conclusion. The correct answer choice is (A)

The premises state that both money and language are universal. This is the equivalent of saying that both money and language are present in every society. The argument concludes that money was probably invented independently in more than one society, because all societies use money and money is a human invention. It is important to clearly identify this conclusion, as many of the answer choices in this question justify statements other than the conclusion of the argument.

  • Premises: Society ..... :arrow: ..... Money ..... :arrow: ..... Human Invention

    Conclusion: Money was probably invented independently in more than one society.

The other key to this question is to focus on the logical gap in the argument. Although money is used by all societies, that does not automatically prove it was invented independently in more than one society. It is possible that money was invented independently by just one society and then spread from that society to all other societies. In that case, money would not have been invented independently in more than one society. However, if an answer choice can somehow demonstrate that several societies were completely independent from the rest, this would prove that money was invented independently in more than one society.

Answer Choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. Note the use of the word some. If some societies were geographically isolated (i.e. independent), and all societies have money, then the geographically isolated societies must have invented money independently. This would justify the conclusion that money was probably invented independently in more than one society.

Answer Choice (B): The conclusion of this argument does not ultimately depend on any facts about language. Money and language might both be universal social conventions, but they are not necessarily identical social conventions. Even if language emerged independently in different societies, money might still have developed in only one society and then spread to all other societies.

Answer Choice (C): This is a Shell Game Answer. Since we know from the stimulus that money is not rooted in an innate ability, this answer choice would prove that money is an invention. However, this fact was already provided in the premises of the argument. The correct answer choice needs to prove that money developed independently in more than one society.

Answer Choice (D): This answer choice is also a Shell Game Answer. The utility of money has no bearing on the issue at hand. The contrapositive of this answer choice states that if money were widespread, then it would be useful. Since the premises show that money is widespread, it would logically follow that money is useful. However, the conclusion claimed that money was invented independently by more than one society, not that money is useful.

Answer Choice (E): This answer choice is yet another Shell Game Answer. If the author had concluded that money is universal, then this answer choice might be an assumption of that argument. However, the fact that money is universal was a premise of this argument, not the main conclusion. Once again, this answer choice fails to prove the actual conclusion that money developed independently in more than one society.
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Wow, the usual diagramming for Justify the Conclusion didn't seem to pay off. I wonder how to avoid this costly mistake on test day?

Premise: Money :arrow: artificial human invention
Conclusion: Money :arrow: Occurred independently

LOGIC CHAIN: Money :arrow: artificial human invention :arrow: occurred independently

Inference: Artificial human invention :arrow: independently occurs.

But this was not reflected in the answer choices. So, can I conclude this is not a Supporter but a defender answer?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Boston Law Guy,

Remember that for all justify questions, we are looking to close a gap left in the argument. We can think about the Justify formula to help us imagine what the correct answer choice should do.

Premise(s) + Correct answer= Conclusion.

We are looking for an answer to help us bridge the gap between the premises and the conclusion. For this stimulus, we need to bridge the gap between money being a universal human invention to money must have been invented independently in multiple places.

What answer choice supports the idea that the invention of money occurred independently in multiple places? Answer choice (A) is the only answer that establishes that it occurred independently. If money is universal, and some societies are geographically isolated, then multiple societies independently developed money.

Hope that helps!
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Since the first sentence talks about the similarity between money and language and the second sentence talks about the difference between money and language, I thought the focus here is the difference, i.e., money is an artificial, human invention. Therefore, I categorized the first sentence as a background information and the argument core is: money is an invention ⇒ money occurred independently in more than one society. But based on the instructor's analysis, the argument core is actually "money is universal ⇒ money occurred independently in more than one society." So how do we analyze the stimulus? Is there any subtle cue words or structural patterns that we can learn from this question? What is the role of the second sentence? Thanks!
 Adam Tyson
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The discussion of language does provide some useful background information, blade, by giving us some important defining characteristics of money by way of comparison. I would break it down this way:

Premise 1: Money is everywhere. Every society has it.

Premise 2: Money is an invention, not something innate.

Conclusion: Money was probably invented independently as least twice.

There's a flaw in this argument, in that the author failed to consider the possibility that money was invented just once, by just one society, and that every society after that copied the idea from someone else. The concept of money could have spread to every society after having been invented in just one. Like the ancient Chinese people created the idea, and then it spread from them throughout the world until everyone, everywhere had at least some version of it.

So to prove that it must have been invented at least twice, we need to know that this problem could not have occurred. We have to absolutely guarantee that there is at least one society that has money but which neither copied the idea from elsewhere nor was copied. If that's the case, then the conclusion must be true - that one society must have invented money independent of other societies, and some other society must also have done it ( in order for every other society to now have it).

Looks to me like you had the right idea! Your prephrase was not in conflict with our approach, but was actually a part of it. Well done!
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This SA question and the analysis of it seem more like a NA question.
 Robert Carroll
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I found two previous PowerScore posts that get at a useful point:



As a summary of the information there, when there is a gap between the premises and conclusion of an argument, the kind of "gap-closing" information that helps make the argument better will be very similar between Justify and Assumption questions. So in this case, it's no surprise that the closing of the gap that will Justify the conclusion is similar to the kind of information that would need to be assumed.

Beyond that, the explanation does in fact treat this as the Justify question it is. The explanation notes that answer choice (A) is sufficient to prove the conclusion.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

Robert Carroll
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I chose A and then switched to B because I thought A was an overreach -but I actually think I misunderstood the question. its not asking which "must be true for the conclusion to be properly drawn" its asking which of these potentially random assumptions makes the argument true....right?

I got caught up in thinking that two societies don't need to be geographically isolated for money to have been invented separately. Like they could have both developed money and then met...for example. But thats a different stimulus...right?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Absolutely bankofamerica.

Remember when we are doing justify questions, we are, as you said, trying to prove the conclusion is true. You can't prove something too much. I'll give you an example.

Let's say I want to prove the conclusion that I'm not going to my favorite pizza place, Hounddog's, for dinner tonight. The following are potential justify answers:

1) Hounddog's has been knocked down and is no longer a restaurant
2) The city that Hounddog's is in has been destroyed by a meteor

Both of these would prove the conclusion. Neither one proves it more. Neither one is too strong. There are multiple ways often to justify a conclusion. That's why they are sufficient assumptions. They are ENOUGH to get to the conclusion, but they are required to get to the conclusion.

And yes, answer choice (B) is a for a different argument. Good pick up! We need to justify the conclusion about money, not language.

Hope that helps!
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Whewww! This was a truly interesting stimulus.

I was able to knock out C-E because none introduced the rogue term which is "occuring independent" and more specifically money occuring independently. I was down to A and B, went with B (which was incorrect). During my review, I now see that the conclusion was about money NOT language and with deep thought A discusses the independence of societies.

What do you think of this process of elimination; Does it make sense? or was I just lucky with it.

Thanks for all your help

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