Pundit: The only airline providing service for our town announced that because the service is unprofitable it will...

Audrey on February 8, 2020

Answer choices

Can someone break down the question so I understand how I choose my answer choice wrong?

1 Reply

Skylar on February 8, 2020

@Audrey-Swope, happy to help.

The pundit makes the following argument:
P: The town's airline announced it will discontinue service next year because it is unprofitable.
P: In response to this announcement, town officials urged the community to use the airline's services more frequently in order to try to change its decision.
P: But instead of following their own advice and flying to an out-of-town conference last week, the town officials drove.
C: There is no reason to comply with this recommendation.

The flaw here is in the pundit's jump to the conclusion. How do we know that there is no reason to comply with the town officials' recommendation? The support the pundit offers for this is the fact that even the town officials themselves did not comply with their recommendation (as they chose to drive instead of fly). However, this is an ad hominen argument, as it attacks the people rather than the content of the argument itself. In other words, the behavior of the town officials has no bearing on whether or not their recommendation should be followed. Perhaps they are hypocritical, or perhaps there were no flights available to the destination of their meeting- either way, this does not necessarily mean that their recommendation would not work.

Therefore, (E) "if the town officials did not follow their own advice then that advice is not worth following" is correct because it points out the disconnect between the town officials' behavior and the content of their argument.

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