QUESTION TEXT: Teacher to a student: You agree that…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: The student should break her alleged promise to Jeanne and tell the teacher the truth.
REASONING: We promise each other to tell the truth and lying would be breaking that promise.
ANALYSIS: The teacher has given the student a hard choice. If they lie they break a promise (to the teacher.) But if they tell the truth they also break a promise (to Jeanne.)
The teaching is assuming that the implicit promise to tell the truth is more important.
- It doesn’t matter what most people do. We’re talking about whether this particular student should break a promise.
- We have no idea if breaking the student’s promise is in Jeanne’s best interest. Probably not, she’ll get in trouble.
- Telling a lie is breaking a promise, according to the teacher. In any case we’re not considering all of the consequences. We’re only considering which promise the student should break.
- CORRECT. The teacher is assuming that the implicit promise not to lie is more important than the explicit promise made to Jeanne.
- The teacher is assuming that this is not true because they’re asking the student to break her promise to Jeanne.
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