QUESTION TEXT: Lawyer: If you take something that you…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: It wasn’t wrong for Meyers to take the compost.
REASONING: The lawyer said Meyers didn’t meet a sufficient condition for something being wrong.
ANALYSIS: This flaw question uses conditional reasoning. When a flaw questions uses conditional reasoning, there are only two possible errors. I’ll use a sample sentence to demonstrate them: All cats have tails (C –> T)
- Incorrect negation (Not cat, so no tail
- Incorrect reversal (Has a tail, so is cat T –> C)
If you see conditional reasoning on a flaw question, assume they’ve done one of these two errors. Drawing isn’t necessary. You just need to see whether they reversed or negated, then look for that answer. That said, here’s the drawing:
Good reason –> Stealing –> Wrong
The lawyer incorrectly negated good reason:
G –> W
- This is different. A fact is a fact. A moral judgment is an idea about a fact (e.g. it’s good, it’s bad, we should, we shouldn’t)
Example of flaw: You pointed out that millions of children are starving. How dare you say it is fine that millions of children are starving?
- This answer describes a hypothetical situation. The lawyer was talking about what actually happened. The lawyer didn’t say what would happen if Meyers thought the compost was someone’s property.
- CORRECT. This describes an incorrect negation. “A condition by itself enough….” is a sufficient condition. The argument assumed this sufficient condition was also necessary.
- This isn’t a flaw! If the compost was Meyers’ property, it would have been fine for him to take it, and he wouldn’t need a lawyer!
- This is a different flaw.
Example of flaw: Mrs. Jones said the compost was hers. This is possible. Therefore it is certain that the compost belongs to Mrs. Jones!
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