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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (D).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C):

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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Welp, I almost always get the "describe the author's attitude" questions wrong :hmm: (I'd day 7 out of 10 incorrect) So, this question being the only one I got wrong in the whole set comes as no surprise.

I chose E. I threw A-C out as Losers very quickly, then was between D & E for just a moment. However, when reading thru the passage me first go around, I actually circled the word "might" in line 55, because I figured there would be a question about the author's (overall or specific) tone. Because of that, I thought, well, there's a BIT of hesitancy / not fully on-board-ness happening here, sooo, I'll go with E because that sounds about right. You can tell that the author is optimistic/supportive/positive of the impacts this legal reform could have on legal reconstruction, but, from what we know from the passage, could one go as far as to say strongly supportive ??

Any elaboration would be helpful. I'm not sure what my approach should be to these questions / I'm not sure why I so often get them wrong (well, except for the times when I plain don't know the definitions of certain words!)

 Kristina Moen
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Hi Angel,

Tone is one of the elements of VIEWSTAMP. You can use "tone" and "attitude" interchangeably. You may be asked about the tone of the author of the passage, or the tone of the group or individual behind a specific viewpoint. You can approach this element by asking two questions: "Is the opinion of the author positive or negative? By how much?" Keep in mind that tone may be (and often is!) neutral. This corresponds very nicely with five answer choices. You'll often see answer choices that fall into these general categories (in no particular order):
Very positive
Somewhat positive
Somewhat negative
Very negative

It sounds like you are approaching these questions correctly by identifying tonal indicators in the passage, reading the answer choices, and asking yourself "Is that what I read?" Since this is a Must Be True question type, you are being asked about what you read and not introducing new information. Here, you identified that the author was positive towards proposals to introduce personal stores into legal discourse and so you eliminated Answer Choices (A), (B), and (C) - which fell into the categories of very negative, somewhat negative, and neutral respectively. So let's talk about Answer Choices (D) and (E).

As I read this question, I would identify where the proposals to introduce personal stories were first mentioned. In this passage, that is Line 45. The author tells us about the proposal and why the proponents argue for the proposal. The author follows by saying that the proposal could play a crucial, positive role in addressing the flaw in objectivism that he outlined earlier in the passage. Pay attention to the question. It asks about the author's attitude towards to the PROPOSALS, not the author's attitude towards introducing personal stories into legal discourse. For example, I could say that "Some people propose that everybody should subsist on bread and water. This might play a crucial role in battling the obesity epidemic in this country." Here, I am supportive of the proposal, but am I unreservedly optimistic about the proposal? Do I think this proposal will really be implemented and will definitely help the epidemic? In the Objectivism passage, the author is supportive of the proposal, but he does not give us any reason to think he believes it WILL be implemented and will solve the flaw of objectivism. Unreserved optimism might sound more like the author is SURE that something is going to happen. Hope that helps!
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Hi, I was between C and D with this question and ultimately went with C. I understand the approach described above of how to go through these types of problems. However, I frequently have trouble differentiating between the author continuing to describe the views/thoughts/points of someone they're citing and the author introducing their own voice.

For this paragraph, I wasn't sure whether the second half of the last paragraph was continuing to describe the view of the legal scholars or it was the author's own voice. What are some clues/signals that I can use in the future to see the point where the author is switching back to their own voice?

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Hi electiondistraction!

Obviously when the author is using a phrase like "they argue" or "according to" in a sentence, then that specific sentence is being used to describe someone else's viewpoint. The first few sentences of the last paragraph start off with language like that to make it clear that the author is describing the arguments of someone else. But in the later sentences, the author is describing their own viewpoint. How do I know? First, the sentences no longer contain more explicit language to indicate that the author is talking about someone else's viewpoint. Usually, if an author is describing someone else's viewpoint, they want to be clear that they are describing someone else's viewpoint. Second, authors frequently introduce viewpoints and then give their own analysis of them. If an author immediately criticizes someone else's viewpoint, it's typically more clear to us that the author has a negative opinion of that viewpoint. But when authors are more supportive of viewpoints, it can sometime be tricky to decide if they are giving their own opinion or just further expanding on someone else's argument. That's the case that we have here. But usually if an author is not critical of a viewpoint, that means they are being supportive of it. If an author disagreed with a viewpoint, they would tell us so. If they don't present any sort of counterargument, that generally means that they agree with the view.

Another thing to remember is the greater context of the passage as a whole. The author begins the passage by discussing the societal harm that can be done by the assumption of objectivist principles in legal discourse. The introduction of personal narratives in legal discourse is presented as something that might help negate the harm from the assumption of objectivist principles. It makes sense that the author would be supportive of something that can help fix a problem they established earlier in the passage. The last sentence, in particular, reads like the author's viewpoint as to how narrative can be a positive thing to introduce into legal discourse.

Finally, it's important to remember here that "ambivalent" does not exactly mean neutral. "Ambivalent" means having mixed feelings toward. So if an author is ambivalent about something, that would mean they have some positive and some negative feelings toward a view or an issue. The author does not present any negatives of introducing narratives to legal discourse and so we cannot support an answer choice that states that the author is "ambivalent."

Hope this helps!

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Thanks, Kelsey! Your explanation was incredibly helpful.

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