Essayist: It is much less difficult to live an enjoyable life if one is able to make lifestyle choices that accord w...

Ava on December 19 at 08:56PM

B versus E

Can someone explain the difference between answer choices B and E? They seem to be saying the same if not very similar things. Additionally, can someone map/diagram this question out and demonstrate how one would identify the missing principle that would strengthen the argument? Thanks in advance.

1 Reply

Andrea on December 21 at 12:45PM

Hi @Shafiave

This is a tricky question, and it’s really important to pay close attention to the relationship between premise and conclusion here because the slide in this one is subtle.

As a side note, if you’re ever having trouble in LR, I would say start there first. You should read the stimulus and before jumping into the answer choices, have a sense of what assumptions the author brought into their conclusion when they drew it.

Here, I used that trick. I read:

It is much less difficult (so easier, right? In my head I stopped to replace “much less difficult” with “easier” because this is a wordy sentence and I thought unpacking it like this would help) to live an enjoyable life IF (*took note of the sufficient condition indicator here, got mentally prepared for formal logic to be thrown at me) one is able to make lifestyle choices that accord with one’s personal beliefs — and then — see those choices accepted by others.

Okay! I know that looks like a lot written out, but if you practice unpacking muddled and wordy sentences like that as you first read through them I promise it happens a lot faster in your head.

With that first sentence in mind, time to take a deep breath and dive into the next one.

It is possible for people to find this kind of acceptance (note to self: acceptance was mentioned before) by choosing friends and associates who share many of their personal beliefs (note to self: personal beliefs was mentioned before).

On to the next one:

THUS (my ears perk up, conclusion here we come. Get your mind ready to get extra critical here), no one SHOULD (note to self: prescriptive statement. It’s definitely the author talking when whether or not something “should” or “shouldn’t” be happening is in question) be denied the freedoms to choose the people with whom he or she will associate (note to self: people who we associate with was mentioned before).

Ok, so, that’s our argument. Thinking about the relationship between evidence and conclusion, let’s go back to that prescriptive conclusion we have here and look at it again more continuously this time.

Conclusion: Thus, no one should be denied the freedoms to choose the people with whom he or she will associate.

Why is being able to choose who we associate with important again? According to the sentence before that, because it will allow us to find that acceptance of our personal choices, and that acceptance allows us to more easily live an enjoyable life.

So, in other words what the author is implying here when he/she says *Thus, no one should be denied the freedom to choose the people with whom he/she associates with* is that we shouldn’t be denied the ability to do something (choose the people to associate with) that allows us to more easily live an enjoyable life (because being able to choose who we associate with allows us to find that acceptance of our personal choices, and that acceptance allows us to more easily live an enjoyable life.)

Which one of the following principals, if valid, most helps to justify the essayist’s argument?

This is a strengthen principal question. We’re looking for a principal that if true strengthens the connection between premises and conclusion, which we explored above. Let’s look for an answer choice that points out something similar to the implication we detected happening above, because shedding light on it would strengthen the argument.

A) This answer choice doesn’t address the conclusion we’re given. Our conclusion is about being able to choose the people we associate with, and the connection between that and the premises is what we’re trying to strengthen.

B) Our conclusion says, “no one should be denied the freedom…” and B goes off the rails and says “one should associate with.” In this argument our focus is not about telling people what to do, in the way B is, but about not denying people the ability to do something.

C) Bingo! Basically, this gets at our subtle connection there. We know that having the ability to choose the people we associate with can make it less difficult to have an enjoyable life (because being able to choose who we associate with allows us to find that acceptance of our personal choices, and that acceptance allows us to more easily live an enjoyable life.). So if having a given freedom (such as being able to choose who we associate with) could make it less difficult for someone to live an enjoyable life (which we know people able to choose the people they associate with can), then one should not be denied that freedom (our conclusion).

D) We know from the first sentence that being able to make lifestyle choices that accord with one’s personal beliefs and then seeing those choices accepted by others is sufficient to make it easier to live an enjoyable life, not necessary. D starts off with language that implies necessity, which is not what the stimulus talks about and therefore doesn’t apply here.


E) “one may choose” doesn’t strength the idea that one “should not be denied”


Hope this helps! I don’t think this one is a good candidate for diagramming, spotting the relationship between premise and conclusion (and the implication contained within) is a better way to go here.