Speaker: Like many contemporary critics, Smith argues that the true meaning of an author's statements can be understo...

CSMengineer on May 9, 2018

Please explain

I'm not sure how to break down this argument, let alone how to get the right answer. Can you please explain this? Thank you!

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meisen on June 1, 2018

Why would Smith lacking insight into her own social circumstances matter?

Christopher on June 3, 2018

@CSMengineer and @meisen

This is a Strengthen with Sufficient Premise question, so you're looking for an answer that fills in a logical leap in the argument.

The argument is that to understand an author's intent (UAI), you must understand the author's social circumstances (UASC).

Not UASC - > Not UAI

The author then suggests applying the same logic to Smith's works, and then makes the logical leap of suggesting that Smith does not understand the true meaning of her own work. So which answer would fill in the missing piece of the puzzle?

(A) does nothing to the argument.

(B) fits within the context of the original argument and would explain the leap. If a reader can only understand an author's true meaning by understanding the author's social circumstances, then Smith must understand her social circumstances to be able to understand the true meaning of her own work. If examining Smith's works shows that she does not understand her social circumstances, then it is safe to conclude, as the speaker does, that Smith does not understand her own work.

(C) is irrelevant to the argument.

(D) doesn't work because it throw out the premises that the speaker is using to make an argument.

(E) introduces elements to the discussion that are not within the original discussion and therefore don't help complete the argument.

So to answer your question, @meissen, Smith's lack of insight into her own social circumstances only matters because that is the formula put forth in the first part of the question.