QUESTION TYPE: Method of Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Muñoz is wrong to say that people in the city oppose the new water system.
REASONING: Muñoz’s reasoning was:
Conclusion: The city is opposed.
Reasoning: The Southwest Hopeville Neighbors Association overwhelmingly opposes the new system.
But, if we look at the vote, only 25 out of 350 members of the neighbors association voted, and only 15 of those were opposed. Those 15 people are a tiny proportion of the city.
ANALYSIS: This is an unusual structure. Muñoz’s argument is embedded within Gamba’s argument.
Gamba says Muñoz’s argument is “citing this as evidence of citywide opposition”. So Muñoz’s central claim is that the whole city is opposed. This was easy to miss, however.
Gamba’s argument tries to show that Muñoz’s conclusion is wrong. He does this by showing that the tiny percentage of people who voted in the neighbors association is too small to tell us anything about the city as a whole.
- This didn’t happen. Here’s a situation that provides an example of this happening.
Claim: Candidate A won the vote. Therefore Candidate A is more popular with most residents.
Explanation: The city is mainly full of youth, who hate Candidate A. However, youth don’t vote. The older minority do like candidate B and did vote.
- This didn’t happen. There’s not much else to say about this type of answer. Had it happened, Gamba would have said something like “Of course, you can manipulate statistics to support any view you want.”
- This answer is an abstract philosophical claim. For this to be the answer, Gamba would have more or less had to say literally say it. Or he could have said “of course, you can have valid premises, but that doesn’t mean the conclusion will be true”.
- This is a different type of situation. It describes a hypothesis which is unfalsifiable.
- CORRECT. This matches. Muñoz’s conclusion was about the whole city. Gamba weakens Muñoz’s argument by showing that the evidence only referred to 15 people – hardly a large enough sample.
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