QUESTION TYPE: Role in Argument
CONCLUSION: Electronic media will probably alter rather than worsen the human mind.
REASONING: People complain that electronic media will damage the intellectual skills we use for reading. But, long ago, people worried that reading would damage the memory and eloquence skills we used for oral culture.
[There is also an implied premise based on common knowledge: the shift to literature from oral culture did not ruin the human mind.]
ANALYSIS: The question asks about the role of the old complaint that reading was destroying oral culture. That complaint was an analogy. Switching to reading changed us, but the outcome was fine. So probably, switching to electronic media will merely change us as well.
- The author never gave any evidence for or against the idea that electronic media will destroy our literacy.
- The author never said that intellectual abilities are intrinsically tied to communication. This can’t be the answer.
- CORRECT. The complaint about oral culture and literacy was an example and an analogy.
Note that “did not necessarily have a detrimental effect” refers to an implied premise. The author is assuming we all agree that the shift from an oral to a literary culture worked out fine.
- The author doesn’t dispute that some intellectual skills may be being destroyed by electronic media. After all, we did lose memory and eloquence once we switched to reading. But the point is that this loss may not be a bad thing – it could be a neutral change.
- The hypothesis being criticized is: “electronic media will destroy literacy”. The statement in question is that literacy was initially perceived as a bad thing. So this answer is saying @defenders of literacy might cite the idea that literacy is a bad [email protected] Once you figure out what this refers to, this answer is ridiculous.
Also, the author never “dismissed” this evidence: they agree with it!
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