Police captain: The chief of police has indicated that gifts of cash or objects valued at more than $100 count as gra...

Emily on September 27 at 09:19PM

Why is A wrong?

The chief only said the “officers” in the precinct have never taken it. That’s a fraction of the people of a precinct, which could plausibly have receptionists, sergeants, 911 operators, lieutenants, etc. Why is A wrong when the reply to the chief of police’s concern is only a subdivision (aka limited sample) of all of the employees of a police precinct?

5 Replies

Emily on September 27 at 09:24PM

It would be like me saying: people in my family have committed the crime of theft if they steal something for more than a dollar. My parents never stole any food worth more than a dollar. Therefore, there is no theft in my family. What about siblings, cousins, and grandparents? Other titles other than "parents" (analogous to "officers") could be in the family (analogous to "precinct") could have committed theft (analogous to "graft"). See what I mean?

Emily on September 27 at 09:26PM

B is saying food is not equal to all things that qualify as theft, which is also correct, but (A) also seems correct.

Irina on September 27 at 09:41PM

@Emily,

The issue with (A) is that it says "based on a limited sample of officers," whereas the argument tells us that "no officer in my precinct," so as far as officers go, it is not actually a sample but total population of officers in the precinct. I think your reasoning makes a lot of sense, and if (A) said something like "based on only one group of employees in the precinct," it would be an attractive choice, but it is incorrect in a sense that there is no limited sample of officers.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Emily on September 27 at 10:26PM

I guess my problem is that "officers" are "a/one group of employees" in the precinct. A fraction of the whole is a limited sample, is it not? Just like a limited sample of American citizens might be Hispanic Americans, Millennials, Women, etc.?

Skylar on September 28 at 01:16AM

@Emily-Odermatt Maybe I can help.

Your line of reasoning is great, but it may be a bit beyond the scope of the question at hand. The key to understanding why A is incorrect lies in the phrase "a limited sample of officers." We know that the sample given in the argument is a complete sample because it states "no officer in my precinct" and goes on to limit the discussion to only "accusations of graft in my precinct."

I understand your concern lies with the fact that officers may not be the only group of employees that could become involved with graft in the precinct. However, this concern is beyond the scope of the question when compared with answer B. If, as you indicated, both answer choices A and B seemed correct to you, you could rule out A because it requires speculation that is not as closely entangled with the argument. This is very tricky, but we see that answer B has a direct tie to the first sentence, whereas your justification of answer A requires speculation of other employee groups not mentioned in the passage and at least a basic knowledge of what graft is and who can engage in it.

Also, though it is unlikely given the context of the police captain speaking, it could be argued that the term "officer" as used in the prompt refers to "political officers" instead of "police officers." In this case, any political officer that could be involved with graft would be accounted for in the argument.

Does this make sense? Please let us know if you have any other questions!