QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: We can’t be certain enough to justify punishing the auto repair shop.
REASONING: There is some evidence that the auto shop is responsible for the pollution. But the penalty is very severe.
ANALYSIS: We’re trying to judge whether the auto shop is responsible: should we convict them, or not? The argument says that stronger evidence is needed, because the penalty is harsh.
We need a principle that says this is correct. So the right answer will say that we should require strong evidence in order to impose harsh punishments. Principle questions are about what ‘should’ happen.
Answers B, C and E are about how to set a penalty for a crime. That’s irrelevant. The penalty for this crime is already set.
A note on logical errors: did you feel that the auto shop was at fault? There’s very little proof. ‘Some’ evidence ‘suggests’ the auto body shop is guilty. If you instantly decided the auto body shop was guilty, then that’s a mental error you need to eliminate.
- CORRECT. This matches what the stimulus said. The penalty is severe, so this answer tells us that we should wait for stronger evidence.
- This tells us how severely you ought to punish crimes. But the stimulus was about whether we could conclude that the auto shop was guilty.
- Same as B. This is about how to set the penalty for a crime. But we are trying to decide whether the auto shop is guilty. The penalty is already set.
- No one has confessed. This is irrelevant. Admission of guilt is just a factor that might let us avoiding debating whether we have enough evidence to convict the auto body shop.
- This tells you how to set a penalty. It doesn’t tell you how to know whether someone is guilty.
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