Lawyer: This witness acknowledges being present at the restaurant and watching when my client, a famous television p...

shafieiava on January 17, 2020

Sufficient assumption? D versus A?

Is this a sufficient assumption questions? Furthermore, I had trouble distinguishing between answer choice D and A. Can someone explain why D is the correct answer over answer choice A? Thanks in advance.

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Annie on January 17, 2020

Hi @shafieiava,

This question is asking you to find the assumption buried in the argument. The best way to start with this type of question is to break down the argument into its component parts:

Premise: This witness acknowledges being present when the assault occurred.
Premise: But, the witness claims to recognize the assailant but not the famous TV personality.
Premise: ??
Conclusion: The witness's testimony should be excluded.

(A) and (D) are tricky answers here, but they are different in that (A) states that if a witness claims to recognize both parties the testimony is okay versus (D) says the testimony is okay ONLY if the witness claims to recognize both parties. The only if is the key distinction.

In (A) the statement leaves open the idea that a witness can still only recognize one party and be allowed to testify. It just says if they recognize both then they should be allowed to testify, it doesn't limit in the other direction. In contrast, (D) says that you can ONLY testify if you recognize both. This is the limiting principle the argument is missing, which allows the lawyer to draw the conclusion that the testimony should be excluded.