QUESTION TEXT: Historian: Those who claim that Shakespeare did…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Snobbery is the only motivation of those who say Shakespeare didn’t write his plays.
REASONING: Shakespeare wasn’t an aristocrat. The other proposed authors are aristocrats. Many of the people arguing that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays
ANALYSIS: This is an interesting flaw. It’s not a standard type. The answer is “fails to exclude the possibility that there might be legitimate evidence….” Which is precisely right – the author simply fails to consider that there may be a legitimate reason why people doubt Shakespeare’s authorship.
Note that the argument is about the motivations of the critics, not whether the critics are right. Those are two separate questions.
- The author didn’t say this. The argument is about the motivations of the critics, not whether their argument is correct.
- This isn’t a flaw. If you’re motivated purely by one thing, then you can’t have other motivations. That’s what the word “purely” means.
- This is a trap answer; it refers to the wrong group. It would have been correct if it had said “motives of those who claim Shakespeare did not write the plays….”
The argument is only about Shakespeare’s critics. Those who think Shakespeare was the author are not under discussion.
- CORRECT. The conclusion was that the critics are motivated purely by snobbery. That means they have no other motives. But the author didn’t actually give evidence to exclude other motives.
- This describes circular reasoning. That’s when the evidence is literally the same as the conclusion. That didn’t happen here.
Example of flaw: Snobbery is the only motivation because the only motivation is snobbery.
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