suspicious android wrote:
The negation technique sometimes shows the correct response on a sufficient assumption question. Logically speaking, it doesn't have to. It often doesn't. It sometimes works because sufficient assumptions may be necessary as well (kind of like a biconditional). In that case, the negation technique would work, but basically by accident. Somewhat more commonly, a sufficient assumption will so straightforwardly complete the line of reasoning that its absence would make the argument seem awkward and jumpy. That's not the reason why it would be the correct response, but it can kind of point out why the idea is in fact important to the argument.
I don't think this is a good way to approach sufficient assumption questions, but I have to admit, it does end up working a fair bit of the time, in a "close enough for government work" kind of way. Of course, there are traps set on harder questions to make this not just unworkable, but completely counterproductive.
I actually don't really like the negation technique itself that much. While when used properly it works 100% of the time ("If do right, no can defend." -- Mr. Miyagi), it kind of masks the idea behind the question, and encourages people to think solely in mechanical terms instead of trying to understand the argument and its flaws. But it is a nice thing to be able to do.
Yeah, I completely agree with this. I do, however, find that if I understand whats going on in the argument and can find whats missing (i.e., the gap in the argument) or even just a word or two of the gap, then I can look for those words and negate the answer choices accordingly. That way, I will have narrowed down the answer choice to the ones that seemed to fill the gap and narrow it down one last time using the negation technique.