QUESTION TEXT: Commentator: The Duke of Acredia argued long…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: The governments of Acredia need to care about the people to be successful.
REASONING: Every time the government has fallen, it’s been true that the rulers have disregarded the people’s needs.
ANALYSIS: This argument only shows a correlation. We don’t know if the lack of care towards the people caused governments to fall.
Heck, maybe every government of Acredia failed to care for the people’s needs, even successful governments. Some other factor like war or natural disaster could be the actual cause of government failure.
- So? The commentator didn’t say that governments need to do exactly the same things for the people at all times. It only matters whether governments care.
- This isn’t a flaw! This answer says that absence of a condition “led” to failure. That shows the absence actually caused the failure. Therefore the inference is reasonable.
In the argument the commentator failed to establish that lack of care for the people actually caused failure.
- This would be a flaw. But we have no reason to expect the Duke of Acredia was biased or unreliable. We know nothing about the Duke.
Also, the Duke was only mentioned to add color to the argument. The real evidence is the past history of government failure in Acredia. There was no bias there.
- CORRECT. This is the real problem. The author has only shown that lack of care for the people is correlated with failure. They’ve never shown that lack of care actually caused failure.
- The commentator isn’t making an argument about virtue. The Duke said virtue is necessary, but the commentator’s argument is only about caring for the people’s welfare. (Which could be self-interested, not virtuous.)
So whether we can assess past virtue isn’t relevant to the commentator’s argument.
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