Principle: Even if an art auction house identifies the descriptions in its catalog as opinions, it is guilty of misre...

Maroun on March 26 at 05:26PM

Question on passage

Can I please get an explanation on this?

1 Reply

Victoria on March 26 at 06:33PM

Hi @Maroun,

So, first let's map out the principle:

If an art catalog's description is a deliberate attempt to mislead bidders, then it is guilty of misrepresentation.
Attempt to mislead bidders - > guilty of misrepresentation
Not guilty of misrepresentation - > not an attempt to mislead bidders

The application of the principle states that when Healy's (an art auction house) described a vase as dating from the mid-eighteenth century when it was actually a modern reproduction, then it was guilty of misrepresentation.
Describe vase incorrectly - > guilty of misrepresentation
Not guilty of misrepresentation - > described vase correctly

So, as you can see from the above, we are missing a premise that gets us to describing the vase incorrectly being equivalent to being guilty of misrepresentation.

Describe vase incorrectly - > X - > guilty of misrepresentation

We know from the principle that a deliberate attempt to mislead bidders is sufficient for being guilty of misrepresentation. Therefore, if describing the vase incorrectly is a deliberate attempt to mislead bidders, then we can use the transitive property to conclude that describing the vase incorrectly means that Healy's is guilty of misrepresentation.

Describe vase incorrectly - > attempt to mislead bidders
Attempt to mislead bidders - > guilty of misrepresentation

So we are looking for the answer choice that allows us to properly draw this conclusion.

You have correctly identified that B through D are incorrect as they all have nothing to do with whether or not Healy's was deliberately attempting to mislead bidders when describing the vase incorrectly.

While A does make sense to a degree, it is important to note that we cannot conclude from this answer choice that Healy's was deliberately attempting to mislead bidders. This answer choice solely states that an authentic mid-eighteenth century piece generally sells for at least ten times more than a modern piece. It does not provide any information as to whether or not Healy's knew this information when they wrote the catalog description.

This brings us to the correct answer: E

E is correct because Healy's intent, by failing to consult an expert and describing the vase as mid-eighteenth century, was merely to increase the auction price. In other words, the only reason that Healy's did this was to mislead bidders in an effort to get them to bid higher for the same piece.

If we go back to our mapped statement:

Described vase incorrectly - > attempt to mislead bidders - > guilty of misrepresentation

As Healy's described the vase incorrectly solely to mislead bidders, they are guilty of misrepresentation.

Hope this is helpful. Let us know if you have any more questions!