QUESTION TEXT: Letter to the editor: You say that…
QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Strengthen
CONCLUSION: The proposal is morally right.
REASONING: There’s a proposal to confiscate burglars’ wages. The money would go to a fund for burglary victims.
ANALYSIS: Principle – Strengthen questions are similar to sufficient assumption questions. The reasoning will be a bunch of facts about an idea. The conclusion will be that the idea is morally good.
Just look for an answer that says that one or more of the facts from the reasoning helps prove that something is morally good.
- This tells you what to do if you steal money from a burglar or receive money stolen from a burglar. This answer doesn’t tell you whether you should steal from a burglar.
Also, the money in the argument will go to a general fund for victims of burglary. So money taken from a burglar won’t necessarily go to his specific victims.
- This answer only places an obligation on burglars. That doesn’t mean the Government has the right to force burglars to meet their obligations.
- CORRECT. The government program has a good motive. This answer shows that the motive is relevant.
To be clear, this isn’t a sufficient assumption, it just strengthens the argument.
- This sounds good, but it just gives us a necessary condition for justifying stealing. Necessary conditions never help prove a point.
Suppose you’re wondering if you can drive from NYC to LA, and you’ve got a map. If I say “you’ll only get there if you have a map”, have I helped you arrive? No! In fact, I’ve restricted you. Now, if you lose your map, you’re lost. Before I added the condition, the map was just a nice bonus.
- This contradicts the argument. We’re trying to say that stealing from burglars is justified.
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