QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: The artist says that almost everyone in the country wants to be an artist.
REASONING: Almost everyone the artist knows wants to be an artist.
ANALYSIS: This is a terrible argument. Artists tend to be friends with other artists. Engineers tend to be friends with engineers. And so on. The artist is working from a very unrepresentative sample.
If you want to find out what the whole country believes then you shouldn’t just ask your friends. Your friends probably have opinions similar to yours.
- This isn’t circular reasoning. The artist’s evidence about the whole country is (poorly) supported by their evidence about their friends.
- Not quite. The artist is assuming that what is true of their friends must be true of the whole country.
- The artist only mentions what they think their friends want to do for a job. They haven’t said any beliefs are widely held.
- CORRECT. The artist should interview people they aren’t friends with. It’s highly unlikely everyone wants to be an artist and much more likely that the artist’s friends are an unrepresentative sample.
- Actually the distinction is clear: someone can want to be an artist while working as a dishwasher. Yet they aspire to actually make a living from their art.
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