It has been said that authors who write in order to give pleasure cannot impart to their readers the truth of their s...

Minerva on September 11, 2019


I had trouble finding the negation that would make the argument break down. Can someone please explain?

Create a free account to read and take part in forum discussions.

Already have an account? log in

Caramujo on September 13, 2019

Hi @Minerva,

Maybe I can help.

Let's first take a look at the stimulus. We are given a point of view in the first sentence where authors who write to give pleasure cannot also impart truth to the readers on the subject matter. The author continues by giving us his conclusion - that this cannot be true. To support this conclusion, the author shows us how assuming this to be true would lead to something ridiculous. If a book were popular, it must mean that it gave readers pleasure, and therefore we can know that it did not impart truth.

I diagrammed these statements as follows:
Write to give pleasure -> Not Impart truth
Popular -> Gave pleasure to readers
Gave pleasure to readers -> Not impart truth

Note how the logical jump is from an author who is writing intentionally to give pleasure and readers being pleasured by the book. The correct answer choice gives us just that by saying readers cannot derive pleasure from reading a book unless an author writes with the intention of giving pleasure. Or, Gave pleasure to readers -> write to give pleasure. The negation, that readers can derive pleasure from reading the book if the author doesn't have the intention of giving pleasure would make the argument break down because then we can no longer conclude that the book doesn't impart truth (the "ridiculous" conclusion the author wants us to draw to show how the first sentence cannot be true)

Let me know if this makes sense. It's really difficult to get all the words exactly right without being able to reference back to the question and lose everything I typed...

Minerva on September 16, 2019

This was very helpful, thanks @Caramujo!

Ame15 on June 30, 2020

Can you explain why D is correct and E is incorrect? Thank you!