A spy fails by being caught, and it is normally only through being caught that spies reveal their methods. The succes...

Jeremy on May 8, 2019

How to diagram the passage + answer choices?

I was able to eliminate A, C, and D. When choosing between B and E, I decided on E on the basis of the construction "But since no one can investigate what does not happen [...]." This seemed much more closely parallel to the passage's claim that "The successful spy is never caught" in contrast to B's "But unconscious motives are usually impossible to acknowledge." In reviewing, I attempted to diagram the passage as well as these two answer choices out: Passage: P: SC --> SF (NOT SF --> NOT SC) P: RM --> SC (NOT SC --> NOT RM) C: NOT SF --> NOT RM Answer choice E: P: IC --> ED (NOT ED --> NOT IC) P: NOT IC --> NOT I (I --> IC) C: NOT IC --> NOT ED This answer choice can be eliminated: "Don't just reverse." But how can we diagram B? I got this far: P: AM --> ACM (NOT ACM --> NOT AM) P: UM --> (usually) NOT ACM C: ??? Please help - thanks!

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Ravi on May 10, 2019


Happy to help. This is a tough question, and the truth is that the
stimulus and answer choices don't diagram super cleanly.

We know from the stimulus that when spies are caught, they have
failed. The only way in which we learn how spies accomplish their
goals is by catching them. This means that we know more about what
makes a spy fail than we know about what makes a spy succeed.

The question says, "Which one of the following arguments is most
similar in its reasoning to the argument above?"

We know that spies either fail or succeed. The argument looks at this
and gives us an explanation for why there exists more information
about the ones who fail than the ones who succeed. We're looking for
an answer choice that mimics this structure: it should explain why
there is more information about one thing vs. the opposite of that
thing because we only find about one of the sides (the side that we
have more information about).

(E) says, "Because someone intervened in the conflict, the effects of
that intervention can be discerned. But since no one can investigate
what does not happen, it is impossible to discern what would have
happened had someone not intervened."

This is a tempting choice, but it's not what we're looking for. The
stimulus discusses spying in general, but this answer choice is only
about a single conflict. Hypothetically, if there exist other
conflicts in which no one intervenes, then we would be able to find
out about the effects of intervening vs. not intervening. Thus, (E)
does not give an explanation for why there is more information about
one side of something vs. the other side of something, so it doesn't
match the stimulus. We can therefore get rid of (E).

(B) says, "People who are aware of their motives can articulate them.
But unconscious motives are usually impossible to acknowledge. So
people are more likely to hear about other people's conscious motives
than their unconscious ones."

(B) does a great job in mirroring the stimulus. It's basically saying
that there is more information about one side of something (conscious
motives) than there is about the other side of something (unconscious
motives) due to the fact that we hear about one of them, but we don't
hear about the other one. This closely resembles the structure of the
stimulus, so it's the correct answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions! I
think for these types of questions, it's sometimes best to zoom out
and think of the big picture of the argument. For this question, in
particular, I find that it's easiest to solve doing this vs. trying to
diagram since some of the statements aren't easily diagrammable.

Jeremy on May 11, 2019

Thank you!