QUESTION TYPE: Sufficient Assumption
CONCLUSION: The artistic merit of an artwork depends on those who evaluate it critically.
REASONING: Critics can make us like artworks more or less, depending on whether they praise or condemn artworks.
ANALYSIS: On sufficient assumption questions you need to split the conclusion apart then fill the gap:
- Identify Conclusion: Evaluation ➞ Affects merit
- Split apart: Evaluation Affects merit
- Fill in evidence, spot gap:
Evaluation ➞ affects how we like it Affects merit
So, the gap is about whether “how we like an artwork” affects whether it has merit.
Note: You might have wanted to draw the conclusion as “merit ➞ evaluation” because the sentence says “depends”, which is a necessary condition.
I didn’t do this because the above drawing doesn’t make sense. It translates to “if an artwork has merit it depends on evaluations”. The author wasn’t saying “some paintings have merit, some don’t” (in an absolute sense. They instead meant “merit” in the sense that evaluation can increase or decrease merit. So it makes more sense to translate the sentence as “If you evaluate an artwork you affect its merit”. You always must think critically of the diagrams you draw to make sure they truly capture the meaning of the sentence.
- CORRECT. This fills the gap: Pleasure ➞ affects merit
- This is just something that’s probably true in the real world. It doesn’t matter if something is true. It only matters if something fills the gap in the argument.
- The argument didn’t say that art critics understand merit. It said that art critics affect merit. You can affect something without understanding it.
- The conclusion only said that merit “can depend”. The argument is saying that critics are a possible factor, if people’s pleasure is affected.
So it doesn’t matter if people listen to critics or not: the argument is only talking about what happens if people pay attention to the critics.
- This tells us nothing about critics. This answer only tells us what happens when people listen to other people in general.
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