QUESTION TEXT: In determining the authenticity of a painting,…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: We shouldn’t believe connoisseurs’ assessments of whether a painting is real.
REASONING: Connoisseurs claim they can know about a painting based on the emotional impact it has on them. But the same painting will have different emotional impacts on different people.
ANALYSIS: The argument makes a claim about connoisseurs based on evidence about the general population. That’s a bad idea. It’s quite possible that connoisseurs are different from the public and they all have similar emotional reactions, since they know the subject matter [paintings] very well.
Experts tend to have similar opinions. So if a painting makes an expert feel “exaltation”, it’s likely other connoisseurs feel exaltation too.
This common reaction could let the connoisseurs judge the authenticity of a painting.
- This doesn’t matter. The conclusion was that we should ignore connoisseurs.
- Rembrandt was only given as an example. But emotional reactions to all paintings will be different.
- CORRECT. Experts will often agree on something even when non-experts have differing opinions.
- The argument doesn’t say that emotional impact is irrelevant. It just says that the emotional impact will be very different for different people. So it could be hard to use as an objective criterion.
- Rembrandt was just used as an example. Most paintings can provide emotional impact. It is that impact that connoisseurs use. The argument is about connoisseurs rather than painters.
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