QUESTION TEXT: Political analyst: Several years ago, McFarlane…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Brooks won’t have many supporters.
REASONING: McFarlane is appointing Brooks. McFarlane’s opponents will oppose anyone in McFarlane’s government. McFarlane’s supporters will think Brooks is guilty of corruption.
ANALYSIS: This argument has two necessary assumptions:
- It assumes McFarlane’s supporters won’t support Brooks if they think Brooks is guilty of corruption. This might not be true.
- It assumes almost all people in the country either support or oppose McFarlane. If most people are indifferent, we don’t know what they would think of Brooks.
The answer uses the second assumption. You might have prephrased the first assumption and thought you made a mistake. You didn’t! It’s just that sometimes there are multiple flaws in an argument. Don’t get stuck on a single prephrase. It might be correct, but not the one chosen for the answer.
- McFarlane’s government’s legitimacy doesn’t matter. This question is only about whether Brooks will be supported.
- “Less” could be 0.1% less. Who cares if there is 0.1% less corruption or not?
Negation: There is exactly the same level of corruption now as before.
- Who cares? This has no impact on Brooks’ popular support.
Negation: Brooks and McFarlane agree on some issues.
- CORRECT. We only have information about supporters and opponents of McFarlane. So if this isn’t true, then we have no information about what most people will think.
Negation: Fewer than half the country is either a supporter or opponent of McFarlane.
- It doesn’t matter whether the charges were true. This question is about what people believe. Facts are separate from beliefs.
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