Science fiction creates an appetite for interstellar space exploration among certain people. Unfortunately, this appe...

Ava on March 29, 2020

Approach? Diagram?

Can someone explain how they would approach this question? Is it diagrammable? I had a really difficult time keeping the premises together in my head, trying to see where the flaw was. Thanks in advance.

Reply

Ravi on April 12, 2020

@shafieiava,

Let's take a look.

This argument is telling us that people want to go to space because
they consume science fiction about it, which intrigues them. However,
we can't satisfy people's appetite to go to space because we won't
soon possess the tech needed, which results in discontent. Therefore,
sci-fi has made people dissatisfied with how the world actually is.

The conclusion in this argument is the last part of the last sentence
("no doubt one effect of science fiction has been to create an
unproductive dissatisfaction with the way the world actually is"). The
premises are contained in the second sentence of the stimulus
("unfortunately, this appetite cannot be satisfied with any technology
humanity will soon possess" and since gaps between expectations and
reality spur discontent").

In thinking about how the premises work to support the conclusion, we
see that there is a big gap between the premises. We know from the
argument that sci-fi cases an appetite for space exploration, and this
appetite can't be satisfied with the current technology available.
Based on the second premise of the argument, If there's a gap between
expectations and reality, this causes discontent. However, the
assumption is that the appetite that cannot be satisfied causes a gap
between expectations and reality. If we added this, it'd bridge the
gap between the two premises.

(A) says, "The fact that the appetite for interstellar space
exploration cannot be satisfied with any technology humanity will soon
possess has created a gap between reality and some people's
expectations."

This matches the prediction we made, as it's the assumption that helps
to connect the two premises together. If there isn't a gap, then
there's no reason to believe that sci-fi makes people discontent.

Also, in case you didn't make the prediction, we can use the negation
test since we're looking for a necessary assumption in this argument.
Because necessary assumptions are assumptions that are required in
order for the argument to make any sense, the correct answer choice,
when negated, will make the argument fall apart.

(A)'s negation would say, "The fact that the appetite for interstellar
space exploration cannot be satisfied with any technology humanity
will soon possess has not created a gap between reality and some
people's expectations."

If (A)'s negation were true, this argument would be wrecked, so this
confirms that (A) is the correct answer choice.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions!