How the pigment known as Han purple was synthesized by the ancient Chinese of the Qin and Han dynasties has puzzled s...

R on January 24, 2018

Hi can you please explain why A is correct?

Not sure why a is correct. Thanks.

3 Replies

Mehran on January 24, 2018

Hi @RJeh, thanks for your post. This is a Strengthen question. The stimulus presents an argument, the conclusion of which is "Thus, Han purple was probably discovered by fortuitous accident during glass production."

The premises offered in support of this conclusion are: (1) Chinese chemists employed the same chemical ingredients used for Han purple in the production of a common type of white glass (2) both were produced in processes that involved subjecting the mixtures to high heat and mixing in lead.

So we know that the same ingredients were used, and the same processes. But we don't know anything about any other overlap. Frankly, neither of these premises supports the conclusion that the discovery of Han purple was a lucky accident/side effect of glass production. That's quite a logical leap.

We need to select the answer choice that would most strengthen the stimulus.

Answer choice (A) does this by making it more likely that the two things - the Han purple and the white glass - were produced in the same geographical area. It's still not a slam dunk, but it does help strengthen the conclusion (which assumes that there is a link between the glass production and the color production).

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Esther on January 23 at 01:02AM

Why is D incorrect?

Jacob on January 23 at 04:05AM

Hi @Ohemaa,

We are looking for an answer that would most strengthen the argument. We know that the conclusion of the argument is that Han purple was probably discovered by fortuitous accident during glass production. As Mehran discusses above, answer A is correct because it makes it more likely that Han purple and white glass were produced in the same geographical area, thus making the fortuitous accident more likely.

Answer D simply doesn’t help us in the same way. It doesn’t matter if the ingredients used to produce both Han purple and white glass were easily obtainable, as that doesn’t tell us anything about why it is more likely that the purple was discovered by fortuitous accident while making the white glass. It could have been that the ingredients were easily obtainable, but that there was still not linkage between white glass production and the discovery of han purple. Thus, answer D doesn’t strengthen the argument.

I hope that helps! Please let us know if you have further questions.