Curator: Since ancient times, the fine arts were developed and sustained with the aid of large subsidies from the ...

Ashley-Tien-2 on October 25, 2018


Could someone explain to me why e is wrong and d is right? Is the government mentioned in the stimulus part of the contemporary society premise?

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Mehran on October 25, 2018

Hi @Ashley-Tien-2, thanks for your post. This stimulus presents an argument; the conclusion is "governments must help finance the maintenance, advancement, and enrichment of the fine arts today." The given premises are that (1) since ancient times fine arts were developed & sustained with the aid of large subsidies from aristocracies & religious institutions that served as the "public sector" of their day, and (2) contemporary societies should fulfill their obligation as stewards of cultural heritage without the assistance of aristocracies or religious institutions.

Reading this, one might immediately identify a gap in the reasoning - why are we talking about "stewards of cultural heritage"? The conclusion is about financing fine arts - where does the idea of "stewards of cultural heritage" come in? This is the gap in the argument; put differently, it's the reason that the conclusion in the stimulus does not follow logically from the premises.

The question stem is a Strengthen with Necessary Premise question. We have to select the answer choice that would strengthen the argument in the stimulus by filling this gap. The correct answer, if negated, would also make the argument in the stimulus fall apart.

Answer choice (D) is correct because it links the concept of serving as a steward of cultural heritage with a requirement that contemporary societies help maintain the fine arts. If you negate (D), it reads: "Serving as stewards of cultural heritage does not necessarily require contemporary societies to help maintain the fine arts."

Answer choice (E) is irrelevant because it doesn't address the gap between a premise about serving as a "steward of cultural heritage" and a conclusion about government financial support for the fine arts. (Also, notice that (E) is not textually accurate in light of the stimulus; in ancient times, government was not involved. Instead, aristocrats and religious institutions played this role. This is not a Must Be True question, but this deviation from the text of the stimulus can help flag an irrelevant answer choice on a Strengthen question, too.)