Policy analyst: Increasing the size of a police force is only a stopgap method of crime prevention; it does not ge...

Audrey on February 8, 2020

Why not A?

Please explain breakdown and key factors to look for to these questions.


Skylar on February 8, 2020

@Audrey-Swope, happy to help.

This is a Flawed Parallel Reasoning question, so we are looking for an answer choice that makes the same logical error as the passage does. We should begin by breaking down the passage and identifying the error in the argument.

P: Increasing the size of a police force is only a stopgap solution to crime prevention.
P: Increasing the size of a police force does not get at the root causes of crime.
C: City officials should not increase the size of their police force in order to respond to rising crime rates.

The flaw in this argument is that a solution that is somewhat effective is ruled out because it is not ideal. In other words, the argument fails to consider that this solution (increasing police force size) should be applied because of the partial benefits it confers, even though it may not be fully effective by itself. Now we should look for an answer choice that makes a similarly flawed argument.

Answer choice (D) can be broken down as follows:

P: Taking this drug does not cure the disease for which it was prescribed.
P: This drug only reduces the disease's most harmful effects.
C: Doctors should not continue to prescribe this drug.

(D) makes the same error as the passage does - it rules out a partial solution because it is not ideal, failing to consider that the partial solution provides some benefits that are better than nothing. Instead of restricting police force size increases because they are only somewhat helpful in addressing crime, (D) restricts drug prescription because it is only somewhat helpful in addressing the disease. Therefore, (D) is correct.

Now let's take a look at answer choice (A).

P: Some people think overly demanding rules prevent some immoral behavior by providing a guide to self-improvement.
P: However, overly demanding rules actually worsen behavior by making people cynical about rules.
C: Societies should not institute overly demanding rules.

(A) is different from the passage and (D) because of its second premise. Instead of overly demanding rules being presented as a partial solution, it is claimed to not be a solution at all. Instead of merely failing to be an ideal solution, overly demanding rules actively work against the subject at hand. Therefore, (A) is incorrect.

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