Recent medical and anthropological data show that prohibitions on the use of certain foods served important social, e...

Minerva on September 17, 2019

Option A

Can someone please explain why A is correct? Thanks!

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SamA on September 19, 2019

Hello @Minerva,

Let's break down the passage.

Premise: recent data shows that prohibition of some foods served various functions in ancient cultures.

Conclusion: this data cannot explain the origin of these prohibitions, because the ancient people involved didn't have this modern research data.

What is an assumption required by the argument?

The author seems to be saying that, in order to understand the origin of food prohibitions, we need to know what information the ancient people had at the time. We cannot understand the origin with the modern data that we have.

This is most closely reflected by answer choice A. Fortunately, none of the other answer choices are all that close. Most of them introduce new factors that have nothing to do with the argument being made.

Keep in mind that an assumption is a statement such that, without it, the conclusion would fall apart. Let's say that answer choice A is false: We don't need to refer to the understanding of the ancient people in order to explain the prohibition origin. This takes away the author's only support for the conclusion. If you negate any of the other answer choices, they have no effect on the argument.