QUESTION TEXT: Some psychologists claim that, in theory, the…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: The psychologists are wrong that deep empathy would be the best way to understand someone else.
REASONING: Deep empathy is impossible. So if the psychologists were right there would be no way to understand anyone. But we can understand people.
ANALYSIS: This argument makes a simple error. The psychologists said the best way to understand someone would be deep empathy. They didn’t say it was the only way.
- Deep empathy is pretty clear: a complete grasp of someone else’s motivations and feelings.
- The only thing the argument denies is that deep empathy is possible. And the argument never claimed that deep empathy was possible.
- CORRECT. The psychologists only said it would be the best way (“would be” doesn’t necessarily mean the psychologists thought it was possible.) The argument misunderstood them and thought they meant deep empathy was the only way.
- Actually the argument is denying the claim of the psychologists. And the argument gives (flawed) evidence for its own claim.
- This doesn’t matter. The argument is about disproving the claim. The stimulus didn’t say how many psychologists believed it.
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The reason I chose answer choice B was because of the line, “But suppose they are right…”
Because of this line I assumed that the argument was taking “… one would gain a direct and complete grasp of that person’s motivations” as a fact.
Can you explain to me why I am wrong for making this assumption? Because from what I see there is no justification for the argument’s denial. It comes off as saying, “let us assume the psychologist is correct in saying such and such. They are wrong because such and such is impossible.”
I see why answer choice C is correct and in fact it was my second option that I was considering between answer choice B.