Reviewer: Many historians claim, in their own treatment of subject matter, to be as little affected as any natural s...

Nima on December 28, 2019

I don't understand this question.

Can someone please give a thorough explanation?

3 Replies

Skylar on December 29, 2019

@nimakian801, happy to help.

First, let's breakdown the reviewer's argument:
P: Many historians claim to be as objective as natural scientists in their work.
P: It is easy to find instances of biased historical explanations.
C: "We clearly cannot accept these proclamations of objectivity."

We are asked to identify the weakness in the reviewer's argument. We may have noticed a jump in logic while reading the passage - how does the existence of instances of biased historical explanations lead to the conclusion that the claims of objectivity cannot be accepted? The correct answer will point this out, and in this case that answer is (D). Answer choice (D) states that the reviewer "takes for granted that some historical work that embodies prejudices is written by historians who purport to be objective." In other words, the reviewer does not consider the possibility that the instances of biased historical explanations found were written by the select historians who did not claim to be objective and instead embraced their ideological leanings and biases. If this was the case, their work would have no impact on a claim made by an entirely different type of historians- those that claim to be objective. Therefore, the evidence presented in the second premise would be irrelevant and the conclusion of the reviewer's argument would not follow logically.

Does that make sense? Please let us know if you have additional questions or would like an explanation of any of the other answer choices.

Nima on January 1, 2020

Yes it took me a while to understand it but I've got it now. Thank you. Essentially the reviewer is assuming (or taking for granted) that historical work with biases were written by objective historians. If this were the case, then the conclusion in the passage would follow. However it is not the case because the passage doesn't consider that some historians do not claim to be objective. There are also historians that claim to be biased and embrace their biased ideologies.

Ravi on February 7 at 10:01PM

@nimakian801, that's correct. Great synopsis. Let us know if you have any other questions!