Although Jaaks is a respected historian, her negative review of Yancey's new book on the history of coastal fisheries...

Madelyn on November 13, 2018


Can you please explain the answer choices?

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Mehran on November 13, 2018

Hi @Madelyn-Luskey, thanks for your post. As always, let's start with the stimulus. This one presents an argument. The conclusion is that Jaaks' negative review of Yancey's new book "rests on a mistake." Why? The premises given in support of this conclusion are that (1) Jaaks' review argues that the book inaccurately portrays the lives of fishery workers; (2) Yancey used the same research methods in this book as in her other histories, (3) these other histories have been very popular, and (4) Yancey's new book is also very popular in local bookstores.

Frankly, who cares if Yancey's books are popular?! That fact does not establish that Yancey's research is *sound*! The actual substance of Jaaks' argument - that Yancey's book is *inaccurate* - is never addressed in this argument. For this reason, it is a flawed argument.

Let's examine the answer choices.

(A) can be eliminated because the stimulus tells us that Jaaks "is a respected historian." There is no reliance in the stimulus "on the word of a scholar who is unqualified in the area in question."

Answer choice (B) can be eliminated because the flaw in this argument is not ad hominem reasoning (which is what (B) describes). The argument does not say Jaaks is wrong "because she is a bad dresser" or "a mean person" or anything similarly personal.

Answer choice (C) is correct. The flaw in this argument is that it assumes that the popularity of a book somehow indicates the book's accuracy. This is obviously not how the world works. People LOVE inaccurate information. That's how tabloid journalism makes its millions!

Answer choice (D) can be eliminated because this stimulus is about one specific author (Yancey) and one specific book (her new book). The conclusion here is specific to this one specific book. It is not "a general conclusion."

Answer choice (E) can be eliminated because it does not accurately describe the flaw in the stimulus. The author of the stimulus does not say "Yancey's research methods are the only methods that could be accurate." If the stimulus said something like that, (E) could be the right answer.

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