I'm having a tough time with this weaken question. I can justify why the wrong ones are wrong but cannot figure out why the correct one is correct.
The stimulus says The Iliad and The Odyssey were both attributed to Homer, but the two poems differ greatly in tone and vocabulary and in certain details of the fictional world they depict. So they are almost certainly not the work of the same poet.
I right away ruled out A and E.
B says that the texts have suffered minor copying and textual errors, which I thought might account for the differences in tone/vocab/etc. but it seemed like too much of a stretch so I got rid of it.
D was the answer I chose, but upon reviewing I realized that "not completely consistent" does not equal "differ greatly."
C is the correct answer, one I originally crossed out because I thought it was also out of scope - it talks about works of modern day writers varying in the same aspects as the Homer poems. I don't understand how an answer about modern writers weakens a conclusion about ancient poems.
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leche wrote:C is the correct answer, one I originally crossed out because I thought it was also out of scope - it talks about works of modern day writers varying in the same aspects as the Homer poems. I don't understand how an answer about modern writers weakens a conclusion about ancient poems.
Premise: The Iliad/Odyssey differ greatly in tone/details/vocabulary.
Conclusion: Therefore, they must be written by different authors.
Linking Assumption: If two works differ greatly in tone/details/vocabulary, then they must be by different authors.
(C) is a counter example to that assumption. Modern authors write works that differ greatly in tone/details/vocabulary. The "must" is false. Therefore, those differences are not enough to say that the Iliad/Odyssey must have been written by separate people.
The age of the poems is actually irrelevant to the assumed conditional. It's kind of important to the question, however, since it's because the poems are so old that we cannot confirm that they were/were not written by the same person, unlike modern authors and their works. The correct answer uses an analogy about things we do know to try and refute a claim about something we don't.
It's not necessarily 100%, but if we assume that the analogy it uses is true, then the initial claim is definitely questionable, which is always a good sign for a "weaken this question" answer.
EDIT: You could put age into the assumed conditional, but that would be adding more than is necessary to draw the conclusion in the stimulus. The simplest, most direct answers/assumptions are usually best in LR.