Even in a democracy, it is necessary to restrict the dissemination of advanced technological knowledge that is of com...

Alejandra on September 7, 2019

Can you explain this?

I don't understand the answer to this question. Really, I am having trouble figuring out what it is even asking.


Irina on September 7, 2019


Great question. The answer choices list the necessary assumptions for the argument in the stimulus to make sense, and the correct answer choice is one that could be false and still allow the conclusion to follow logically. One way to think about it as an "assumption EXCEPT" question.

The argument says that even in a democracy, it is necessary to restrict the dissemination of advanced technological knowledge that is of commercial or security value. In particular, dissemination to competitor or enemy countries should be prohibited. There must, however, be free exchange of scientific information.

Let's look at the answer choices:

(A) It is possible to distinguish friendly or noncompetitive fro hostile or competitive nations.

Incorrect. This is a necessary assumption, otherwise, it is impossible to restrict the dissemination of sensitive information only to select countries if one cannot tell which countries are hostile or competitive.

(B) In a democracy, it is not necessary that the public have detailed knowledge of the country's advanced technology to make informed decisions about the direction public policy should take.

Incorrect. This is a necessary assumption because if the public must have detailed knowledge to make informed decisions, it goes against the principles of democracy to argue for any restriction on the dissemination of advanced technological knowledge.

(C) In most fields of science, basic scientific research is further advanced that are democracies than in other countries.

Correct. The validity of this statement has no impact on the conclusion. Whether scientific research is more advanced in democracies or more advances in other countries, the argument for the free exchange of scientific information still stands.

(D) In each field of science, it is possible to distinguish scientific from advanced technological knowledge.

Incorrect. This is a necessary assumption as the argument treats scientific knowledge and technological knowledge differently - select restrictions for technological knowledge and free exchange for scientific, thus to apply different standards we must be able to distinguish between scientific and technological knowledge.

(E) In cases where a company that uses advanced technology is a multinational organization, it is possible to keep information about the technology from being passed across designated national boundaries.

Incorrect. This is a necessary assumption as for the government to restrict the dissemination of sensitive information, it must be possible for multinational companies to keep information from being passed across the border.

Does this make sense?

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Ashkan on May 21 at 06:32PM

I got the correct answer choice for this question by the process of elimination. But I still have difficulty finding the conclusion of the argument. Could you please break down this stimulus and explain how to find the conclusion for similar questions?

Emil on May 24 at 11:32PM

Hi Ashkan,

The argument opens with a claim: even in a democracy we need to restrict certain sensitive knowledge. This is a pretty bold claim.

The author then states that we should not share info with certain countries. It seems like the first sentence supports the second sentence, so the claim that we should restrict sharing is a conclusion.

Finally, we are told that scientific information should be freely shared. This seems tangential to the above argument, and more like an unsupported claim that in turn does not support anything else.

In a pinch I would probably say the middle sentence is the conclusion, but this is indeed a really tough one. In the future if you see a loose argument like this, you may want to focus on the logic flow and how the statements relate to each other rather than forcing yourself to designate one part as the conclusion.

Ashkan on May 25 at 10:56PM

Thank you for your response.