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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the reasoning. The correct answer choice is (B)

The stimulus describes two situations and their consequences. First, when workers are not challenged, they become bored and do not live up to their potential. On the other hand, when they are challenged too much, they give up and also do not live up to their potential. As such, the stimulus concludes, workers will never reach their full potential. The flaw in this argument is that the author draws this conclusion by looking at two extremes, without considering what happens when workers find the right difficulty of work. In other words, the stimulus assumes that there are only two possibilities—too easy or too hard—when there may actually be a middle ground.

Answer choice (A) The stimulus does not do what this answer choice suggests. Yes, the conclusion is about what is possible, and this is projected from what actually happens when workers are challenged too much or too little. However, the stimulus does not mistakenly equate the two, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. This is close to our pre-phrase—that the argument ignores, without good reason, the prospect of a middle ground.

Answer choice (C) The evidence may be subjective rather than hard, concrete numbers, but this is not what is wrong with the stimulus. Subjective evidence may be perfectly acceptable in certain circumstances, such as this one, when we are not dealing with precision measurements and the like.

Answer choice (D) The stimulus does not make a causal argument. There is a semblance of causation in the stimulus' premises, when the author discusses what happens when workers find work too easy or difficult. However, the premises are generally not attacked in these flaw in the reasoning questions; as the namesake suggests, we are to attack the reasoning process to get from premise to conclusion, not the premises themselves. There is a much bigger flaw with the argument that does not have to do with its premises.

Answer choice (E) This answer suggests that the argument uses a term with multiple meanings in one way in one part of the argument, and another in another context. There is no term that is used equivocally in the stimulus.
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I got this answer correct, but I am a bit confused about the explanations of the wrong answer choices. For the answer choice D, I am confused why it says that there is only a "semblance of a causal relationship." I thought that both ideas of not challenging assignments and too difficult assignments leading to achieving less was causation. Can you help me with this?

 Francis O'Rourke
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The stimulus uses classic conditional language in both premises:
When workers do not find...
On the other hand, when workers find...
Although it is easy to mistakenly presume that the sufficient condition causes the necessary to occur, it is important to never just assume this. Conditional indicators, such as when, if, all, every, whenever,do not indicate a causal relationship between the sufficient and necessary conditions
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I got this wrong and I didn't see this as a sort of false dilemma at all. I thought they were just using conditional reasoning in the stimulus but couldn't find any answer choice describes it so I chose A, can you explain why this is a false dilemma and how to recognize it I know for flaw in the reasoning sections were supposed to identify the flaw but since this is in the prove family I keep accepting the stimulus as true which really isn't helping me see the flaws unless they're the obvious ones and sometimes like this I even end up not even seeing the flaw what should I be doing to actually see a flaw in the stimulus because as I said before unless it really stands out from one of the categories from lesson 7 I just keep overlooking them even though i know what they are
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Hi egarcia,

Thanks for your question!

Since the prompt asks us to find an error of reasoning contained in the argument, we can assume it's a flaw in the reasoning question. Error of reasoning is really just another way of saying flaw in the reasoning. :)

The argument puts forward two possibilities:

(1) When workers find their assignments to be unchallenging, they get bored and achieve less than they're capable of

(2) When workers find their assignments to be too challenging, they give up and achieve less than they're capable of

So on the basis of these two scenarios, the author concludes that workers will never reach their full potential.

The flaw here is that the author assumes that work will always be too hard or too easy, but never just right. This is a false dilemma -- assuming that only two choices are available, when in fact other alternatives exist. It's a bit silly to assume that workers will always be either bored or totally overwhelmed. We know from common experience that an employee who is initially overwhelmed at a new job can excel at it with some experience. The author's failure to acknowledge this possibility leaves his argument vulnerable to attack.

I hope this helps clarify things. Good luck studying!

Athena Dalton

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