ahs2123 wrote:My TM instructor said the same thing. Knowing weaken/strengthen etc. is good enough. Someone earlier said that there are only two ways to weaken an argument...that simply isn't true. I do agree that this question was one of the rarer ways of weakening.
99% (exaggeration) of weaken questions are actually just flaw questions. In fact a flaw question is just another weaken question. The difference between the two questions is just how they want you to deal with the answers. Flaw questions usually ask you to describe the flaw in the logical structure, whereas weaken questions want you to describe in context of the information where the flaw is. And just to really irritate you, the majority of these two types of questions are actually assumption questions, since the flaw usually occurs in an implicit assumption in the argument. This is a case of attacking the structure of an argument and is the most common way to weaken an argument, as it tends to destroy the conclusion.
The second way to weaken an argument is like everyone has said, attack a premise. If you attack a premise it is not as solid of an attack because most conclusions can still be true, even if one of the premises is not. This type of question is rarely used.
It does not matter how it asks you to weaken an argument (find the flaw, evaluate with a question, evaluate structure, etc.), ultimately you are going to have to find the same flaw/weakness.