PT12 S4 Q8

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PT12 S4 Q8

Postby alexrodriguez » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:42 am

I originally picked the correct answer for reasons I'll never understand and then during blind review changed it.

Why (C)

Lets say I write this so called history book and I write in it the following inconsistencies

Steve Jobs was born 2013.

MLK was born 2010

Michael Jordan was NBA MVP 2012.

Some TLS users argue that because I have all these inconsistencies I must have gotten all this information from more than one source. Okay...

info on Steve Jobs from NY Times
info on MLK from Time magazine
info on Michael Jordan from ESPN

now what?

(C) the history book's author (me) used no source that contained inconsistencies repeated in the history book

wait, so is this answer saying I did not use NY Times for info including Steve Jobs, MLK and Michael Jordan? Meaning that I had to have gathered each piece of information from a different source?

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Re: PT12 S4 Q8

Postby WaltGrace83 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:23 am

Book contains inconsistencies
Must be getting information from MORE THAN ONE source

The conclusion doesn't follow UNLESS

The conclusion follows --> the history books author used no source that contained inconsistencies repeated
(So if the conclusion follows, then it must be true that the book used by the author did not contain inconsistencies)

YES. That is a NECESSARY ASSUMPTION. What if the book DID contain inconsistencies? Let's say you are writing a book about Barack Obama and you consult only one source, his biography. On the first page, it said he was born in 1960. On the second page, it said he was born in 1969. During the writing process you consult page 1 at one time and page 2 at another, thereby getting inconsistencies in the information. Thus, you could still be using one source (the conclusion doesn't follow) while getting inconsistencies.

This is a seriously hard correct answer - so many double negatives! I could be wrong but I have never seen a problem like this so I would doubt you'll get a stem worded like this in the future.

Anyway, I am more concerned about why you got (A) (B) (D) or (E) right rather than (C) wrong. (C) is a REALLY tough answer choice to figure out and get to the nuts and bolts of. However, the others are so CLEARLY wrong. What was your thought process?

We are looking for necessary assumption:

(A) We don't care if they try to reconcile discrepancies. The point at issue are the discrepancies themselves
(B) It doesn't matter that they are apparent - they are THERE and that is all that matters.
(D) We don't care if the author was AWARE of some potential problems. Again, we only care about the discrepancies themselves!
(E) Familiar with ALL the source material? Is it necessary, if I am writing a book on Barack Obama, that I be aware of every single source - even those sources that are within the smallest nook and crannies of page 456,132 of a google search?

This is one of those correct answer choices that I pre-phrased. My thought process was, "well who js to say that the author wash't careless and had inconsistencies that way? Who is to say that you MUST have gotten more than one source if there are inconsistencies? " So (C) did not line up exactly with my thought process, but it had something I didn't think of with answers that were all clearly wrong. If it were game day, I would circle #8, pick (C), and move on, hopefully having time to get to it later on.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: PT12 S4 Q8

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:53 am

One thing that is tripping you up seriously is that you are misunderstanding what 'inconsistency' means. You use it in your example as simply as mistaken fact, but it really means two separate items from the book that are inconsistent with one another, just like in WaltGrace's example. Reading 'inconsistency' as 'mistake' makes creating the hypothetical and negation incredibly difficult and somewhat nonsensical.

So, saying Steve Jobs was born in 2013 is not, by itself, an inconsistency. It's only an inconsistency if somewhere else in the book it states that he was alive and doing things in the 1990s.

From the premise, we know the book has inconsistencies within it. This could happen for a number of different reasons - maybe I used one source that already disagreed with itself about Steve Jobs. birthday, or maybe I used two different sources that disagreed with each other about Steve Jobs' birthday, or maybe I just made things up as I went along and didn't keep track. The scholars conclude that it must have happened for one particular reason. This is a classic pattern of:

PREMISE: Phenomenon
CONCLUSION: Explanation for phenomenon
NECESSARY ASSUMPTION: Ruling out an alternative explanation for the phenomenon.

Also, remember that to test a necessary assumption, you have to negate it. In your analysis above, you seem to be taking (C) as an additional fact you have to fit in as it is written. That's not the task: you must negate it, and then see if it *destroys* the argument.

Here, if the author DID use a source with inconsistencies within it, that could explain why the book had inconsistencies, and would not necessarily mean the author used more than one source. Thus, the negation destroys the argument.

I'm also curious which answer choice you were attracted to.

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