QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Democracies should give families with underage children extra votes. Otherwise, the system isn’t fair to those families.
REASONING: Children can’t vote. So families with children don’t have full representation.
ANALYSIS: This is a subtle argument. You have to be very clear about what the author is talking about. The author is specifically talking about being fair to families with children. It’s not talking about being fair to the children themselves – the kids only matter inasmuch as they’re part of the family unit.
- Tempting, but children aren’t voters. This could have been right had it said “proportional to the number of people”.
- The author tries to show that adults should be given authority to decide for children. Negating this principle makes the argument stronger.
Negation: Parents should be given responsibility to decide for their children even if those children are mature enough to decide.
- The stimulus wasn’t about how adults should vote. It’s about whether adults with children should be given an extra vote.
- This sounds bad, but it doesn’t wreck the argument. The argument is whether lawmakers should pay attention to the interests of families with children. It’s not talking about the children themselves, necessarily.
So even with this negation, lawmakers could favor the interest of adults with children, and thus at least somewhat favor the interests of those families as a whole.
Negation: It is perfectly fair for lawmakers to favor the interests of those who have the vote.
- CORRECT. This wrecks the argument. The conclusion was about how to fairly represent the interests of families with children. So those families are the group.
Negation: A group cannot be fairly represented if some members can vote on behalf of others in the group.
(E.g. if adults receive an extra vote on behalf of the children in the group.)
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