QUESTION TEXT: Ethicist: Marital vows often contain the promise…
QUESTION TYPE: Sufficient Assumption
CONCLUSION: Love doesn’t mean “feelings” when used in marital vows.
REASONING: Love is a feeling, and we can’t control feelings. It makes no sense to promise to do something we can’t control.
ANALYSIS: The ethicist is an idiot. People make wedding vows to express their deep feeling of commitment and love for each other. They are not making a literal promise that is within their power to uphold, and everyone knows it. So what? It’s absurd to think that couples aren’t referring to the feeling of love in their wedding vows.
To be fair, the ethicist has correctly proved there are two possibilities: Either the promises don’t make literal sense, or “love” refers to something that isn’t a feeling. But the ethicist gives no evidence for their conclusion that the second option is more likely correct. The correct answer helps the ethicist by eliminating the first option.
- This doesn’t tell us what people refer to in their wedding vows. They might be making a promise about something they can’t control: love.
- This tells us what people should do. But the ethicist was talking about something people are doing, and what they mean when they do it. “Should” and “is” are different.
Note: When the ethicist says “no one should take” he’s describing what a wedding vow is, not what it should be.
- It’s necessary for the ethicist to assume that love can refer to something other than a feeling. But it is not sufficient. Married couples still might refer to feelings in their wedding vows, even if love can refer to other things.
- CORRECT. If this is true, then “love” must refer to something else. Because the ethicist is right that wedding vows don’t make sense. It’s just that the ethicist hasn’t considered that it might make sense to make a vow that makes no sense. This answer eliminates that possibility.
- This isn’t needed. We already know the wedding vow cannot be kept. So it doesn’t matter if other vows that cannot be kept make sense or not.
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