Counselor: Those who believe that criticism should be gentle rather than harsh should consider the following: chang...

Lauren on August 21 at 11:16PM

Please Help!

@lsatmax I'm sort of confused between why answer choice (A) is correct and answer choice (C) is incorrect. I think i might have a slight grasp on it but I'm still a bit confused and need some clarity. Is it because “harsh criticism” (which is sufficient for providing a motive) is used in the argument's conclusion as being necessary to bring about “motive” when in actuality having harsh criticism does not necessarily mean than you automatically have motive and therefore cannot draw the conclusion that harsh criticism will cause the person criticized to change?

1 Reply

Shunhe on December 28 at 03:13AM

Hi @Lauren-Au,

We're looking for a flaw in the reasoning here, so let's figure out what's being said. We know that change needs a motive, and unpleasant criticism provides a motive. We also know that harsh criticism is unpleasant, and thus, it provides a motive. We conclude that only harsh criticism will cause the person criticized to change. What should we be concluding from the premises though? Well, to write it out in conditional logic form, we have:

Harsh criticism - > Unpleasant criticism - > Motive

But the first premise tells us that change requires a motive; in other words, change - > motive. But this is the opposite of what we need, which is motive - > change. In addition, even if we had motive - > change, then we'd have harsh criticism - > change. But what we conclude is change - > harsh criticism. In other words, we are mixing up our sufficient and necessary conditions, and this is what (A) tells us.

(C) is wrong because the author isn't assuming that all those who are motivated will change, since the stimulus tells us that change - > motive, whereas (C) would be diagrammed as motive - > change. Hope this helps, feel free to ask further questions because this one is a tricky one.