QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Justify
CONCLUSION: Romantics are wrong to say that institutions made by people are the reason people become evil.
REASONING: Institutions are just groups of people.
ANALYSIS: The sociologist forgets that groups might change people. If you get a bunch of people together in a group and call them @The [email protected], @The National Weather [email protected] or @Chesterton Valley High [email protected] then those people may behave differently than if they were individuals not part of any group.
So, the sociologist is making the error of thinking that the whole can’t influence its parts. But, we can strengthen the sociologist’s argument by showing that groups can’t influence the individuals in the group.
- Well duh. 100 people in a group could surely do more evil than a single person, but that doesn’t tell us whether being in the group changed each person’s capacity for evil, or whether the group just added their existing capacities together without changing them.
- So? This doesn’t tell us whether those institutions are merely groups of individuals, or whether forming an institution changed those individuals. As a result, this has zero impact on the sociologist’s argument.
- The sociologist said nothing about optimism, or about how evil people are on average.
- The sociologist wasn’t talking about what social values as a whole are. They were only making a claim about whether institutions influence values.
- CORRECT. If this is true, the institutions (the whole) can’t influence individual people (the things that compose it).
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