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Complete Question Explanation

Point at Issue—CE. The correct answer choice is (A)

Rachel argues that the lack of constraints on contemporary art has led to a decline in the quality of
art, because great art requires that artists struggle within boundaries, as did contemporary artists’
predecessors. Rachel’s conclusion is that freedom from constraints “has caused a decline in the
quality of art.”

James argues that people mistakenly conclude that contemporary art is inferior to the art of past
eras, because while people have forgotten the poor artwork of past eras, they still remember the poor
artwork of today. James’ conclusion is that “people today mistakenly think that contemporary art is
generally inferior to earlier art.”

The causal aspect of the stimulus is that Rachel discusses why she thinks the quality of art has
declined, and James discusses why he thinks the quality has not declined, and why people believe it
has.

Since you are asked for James’ and Rachel’s point of disagreement, and their conclusions contain
opposing ideas about quality of art, you should prephrase and search for a response that discusses
whether there has been a decline in the quality of art.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. Rachel states that contemporary art has
declined, and James states that contemporary art is not inferior to past art, so James and Rachel
disagree over whether there has been a decline in contemporary art relative to other periods.
Remember, use the Agree/Disagree Test to confi rm that this is the correct answer. In this instance,
Rachel would agree with the statement and James would disagree.

Answer choice (B): Since James does not discuss constraints, we are uncertain of his opinion on this
statement. Hence, this answer follows the classic “one view unknown” form, and we must eliminate
this choice.

Answer choice (C): This is another answer choice that follows the “one view unknown” form. Since
James does not discuss limits, you must eliminate this choice. You cannot be certain of James’
opinion about something he does not discuss, and you should not assume that James opposes all of
Rachel’s beliefs.

Answer choice (D): James unquestionably agrees with this statement, but you do not know Rachel’s
opinion about whether the inferior art of past generations is forgotten. Thus, because one speaker’s
perspective is unknown, this answer choice cannot be correct.

Note that although James may have implied that Rachel herself has forgotten the inferior art of the
past (“They all forget…”), that does not commit Rachel to disagreeing with James on the point about
whether inferior art is generally forgotten.

Answer choice (E): Both Rachel and James in some way disagree with this choice, so in that respect
they agree with each other, and this choice is wrong.

Rachel’s discussion is centered on the presumption that one can accurately compare art from
different periods to that of the contemporary era, so she would disagree with this statement. James’
argument indicates that the quality of contemporary art can be compared to the quality of art from
past eras (“people today mistakenly think that contemporary art is generally inferior to earlier art”),
so he also disagrees with this statement.

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