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Dave Killoran wrote: Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:00 am Answer choice (C): The questions to be asked of this answer are two-fold. First, in general, would it be unreasonable to think that "determination of the date and location of a document's printing or drawing can be made solely on the basis of the presence or absence of a single element in the ink used." And the answer is that it is probably not unreasonable in a general sense. If Gutenberg had been the only person in the world using titanium in his inks, then perhaps there would be a way to pin down broad dates and times. Let's set aside that point though.

The second question here, then, is more specific: does this argument attempt to actually determine "the date and location of a document's printing or drawing"? And in the specific, I'd say no, that does not happen. The author uses the titanium element to tie things together and make broad conclusions, but nowhere is there a specific date or exact location given for these items. Since this latter part isn't occurring, this answer is incorrect.
My contenders were A and C and I guessed C. I think I understand why A is correct, but I am not completely ready to eliminate C.

First, is it ok to go down this road of "if Gutenberg had been the only person in the world using titanium in his inks" because this situation is one possibility put forth by the author? The latter part of the quoted sentence makes sense to me, but I was kind of confused how we can suppose that Gutenberg was the only person using titanium ink because the stimulus also implies that titanium ink was really common in the 15th C.

Second, I thought this argument did "actually determine 'the date and location of a document's printing or drawing'" based on the presence/absence of titanium ink. When the stimulus links B-36 to Gutenberg, that narrows the location of B-36's printing to where Gutenberg was known to have been located, right? It could also narrow the date of printing to when Gutenberg was known to be working.

Could I get some clarification? Thank you!
 Robert Carroll
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The entire problem with the stimulus, the problem identified by answer choice (A), is that the author thinks that titanium ink was both really common and incredibly restricted. The stimulus thinks that titanium ink was so rare that, if you found it, it must have been in a work printed by Gutenberg. The other part of the argument thinks that titanium ink is so common that it's actually quite likely to be an authentic work rather than a later forgery. So...which is it? The argument wants to have both sides. That's why, when Dave points out that the argument thinks titanium ink is unique to Gutenberg, you're seeing a problem - the argument does want titanium ink to be unique to Gutenberg but ALSO really commonly used. But, again, that's just what answer choice (A) is saying!

To your second point, Dave is on the right track again - and note that the things you're saying about the stimulus aren't happening in the stimulus. Maybe the stimulus could, based on its logic of titanium ink's being unique to Gutenberg, tie down B-36 to Gutenberg's time and location. But it didn't do that - it doesn't say anything about date and location with respect to B-36, except what was already known about its date - it didn't infer it was a 15th-century Bible, it took that as already-established background information. The inference is made about B-36 was that it was a Gutenberg Bible. Nothing in that statement involves an inference about date or location.

Further, one more problem I have with answer choice (C) - this is a Flaw question. Is it unreasonable to determine the date and location of a document's printing based on a single element of ink? Because, if that's the correct answer, such a determination must always be flawed. I disagree that it is. In this case, maybe. But generally - I could think of a situation where a single element in ink DOES allow use to tie something down to a specific date and location. So I can't say that, per se, that's unreasonable and always flawed.

Robert Carroll
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I think I understand why A is the correct answer, but I just want to make sure.

So the author is stating that the use of titanium in ink was only detected in 2 books from the 15th century, and not in any other books from that period, however, they then use that reasoning to conclude that the Vinland Map was also drawn in the 15th century. However, if we only know of two books written in the 15th century using titanium ink, then we don't have enough evidence to immediately conclude that the Vinland Map was drawn in the 15th century, right?

Are there any tips for approaching a question like this that can be applied to other questions this difficult? This question presented a flaw that I have not seen or have yet to practice.
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi riabobiia,

Your explanation is missing a critical piece that actually contains the flaw. It's not simply that there were only two 15th century books detected that had titanium, and from that the author concludes the Vinland Map may have been printed in the 15th century.

The other key piece is that the author also concludes that Gutenberg had to have printed the B-36 Bible. Why does the author conclude this? Presumably, because titanium was incredibly rare in 15th ink, so rare that Gutenberg was presumably the only one using it, which is why the author believes B-36 must have been printed by Gutenberg.

However, at the same time, the author believes that the Vinland Map (which presumably was not printed by Gutenberg as far as we know) may also have been printed in the 15th century.

This argument contains a flaw known as an internal contradiction. In other words, it relies on two ideas that contradict each other. If the use of titanium in ink during the 15th century was common, then there would be no reason to assume that Gutenberg had to have printed the B-36 Bible. On the other hand, if ink containing titanium was only being used by Gutenberg during the 15th century, then it's unlikely that the Vinland Map was printed in the 15th century.

I'll also refer you back to Dave's complete explanation of the question. Unsurprisingly, there have been a lot of questions/answers posted in the forum about this very difficult question.


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