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Assumption. The correct answer choice is (D)
The stimulus concludes that a university should not be entitled to patent the inventions of its faculty members, and supports that conclusion by arguing that patents amount to promoting a motive to suppress ideas, which is incompatible with a university's obligation to promote the free flow of ideas.
You are asked to identify the assumption to this argument, but the assumption may be difficult for you to ascertain before proceeding to the choices. The argument makes the assumption that entitlement ought to stem from whether an action is incompatible with obligations, and that any of the inventions will be valuable, among too many others to list. You should proceed to the choices and remember to use the negation test on anything that looks like it might be critical to the argument.
Answer choice (A): You can quickly eliminate this incorrect choice, because whether or not there are other institutions obliged to promote the free flow of ideas is not relevant to the discussion of the university's obligation.
Answer choice (B): This choice might have seemed attractive, but under negation (you must use the logical, non-polar negation) you find that fewer than most inventions would be profitable, which still allows the conflict with a university's obligations. This choice is wrong, and is a poor rendering of the required assumption that some of the patents would be thought valuable enough to patent.
Answer choice (C): Since the stimulus never discusses publications, you should not presume that publications are the implied method of disseminating ideas, and this choice is wrong.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. For the conflict of interest to create any real incompatibility, the universities will have to sometimes act on the motive to suppress information. If the universities never act on that motive (using the negation technique), then it is difficult to understand why any real conflict exists.
Answer choice (E): The argument concerned whether universities should be allowed to patent the inventions of their faculty, not whether the patents would be sought by some other party, so this choice is wrong. Furthermore, this choice might actually suggest that the patenting of inventions and suppression of ideas is a given, challenging the assumption that granting or withholding patents to or from universities could change anything.