QUESTION TEXT: Attacks on an opponent's character should be…
QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Strengthen
CONCLUSION: We should avoid attacking an opponent’s character during a debate.
REASONING: Character attacks don’t address the opponent’s argument. They just try to question the opponent’s moral right to be in the debate.
ANALYSIS: The right answer is sort of odd. It says we should avoid attacks that don’t address every argument. No attack addresses every argument. Most techniques only address a few arguments.
So technically, the right answer tells us to avoid all techniques of argument, including character attacks. It works, but it’s very broad.
I’d feel uncomfortable picking C if it weren’t for the fact that A, B and E all weaken the argument. D talks about our moral right to debate, which is irrelevant.
- If that’s the case then we don’t have many options. Maybe we should attack the opponent’s character since we don’t have much else to say.
- The fact that such attacks “should not” impress viewers doesn’t mean that they won’t impress viewers. Maybe the attacks would be effective and we should use them…
- CORRECT. I sort of suspect this is a typo and they meant to write “attacks that do not address any argument.” Regardless, this is the best answer. A, B and E all weaken the argument and D is just irrelevant.
- So? The stimulus didn’t claim that our own moral rights needed preserving. It just pointed out that character attacks needlessly attack the moral rights of others.
- This tells us that we should attack our opponent’s character. We’re trying to conclude the opposite.
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