A popular complaint about abstract expressionist paintings—that "a child could paint that"—holds that their stylistic...

tomgbean on January 12, 2020


Please explain why E is wrong.

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Annie on January 12, 2020

Hi @tomgbean,

This question asks you to find the answer choice which is being assumed by the argument. For these types of questions, I always find it helpful to break the stimulus down into its component parts.

Premise: A popular complaint about abstract expressionist paintings - that a kid could do that- holds that their stylistic similarities to young kids paintings means they're not more aesthetically pleasing then kids works.
Premise: But, most participants in a study consistently rated the abstract expressionist painting as more aesthetically pleasing then the kids one.
Conclusion: Therefore, this complaint is wrong and abstract expressionist paintings are aesthetically pleasing.

Then, see if you can spot an assumption before turning to the answer choices. I see one in the conclusion, as it is assuming that because abstract expressionist paintings have been voted as more pleasing than preschool ones, this means they are pleasing themselves. This is assuming that the preschool ones weren't horrible and that anything, even something not pleasing, would be better than them.

Answer Choices:
(B) is correct because it spots the assumption described above. If you negate this answer choice it would say that that most preschool paintings were aesthetically displeasing. If this were true, the conclusion would fall apart, therefore its a necessary assumption for the argument.

(E) is incorrect because it focuses on "stylistic similarities" rather than what is "aesthetically pleasing." The conclusion is not about the stylistic similarities (these are only mentioned in the first sentence) so does not depend on this assumption.