Dean: The mathematics department at our university has said that it should be given sole responsibility for teaching...

on April 19, 2020

Answer C

Why would choice C be incorrect? Does that not point out a possible flaw in the conclusion if mathematics requires more expertise than History?

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Shunhe on April 19, 2020

Hi @TimB,

Thanks for the question! So, first, let’s take a look at the argument itself. We’re told that the math department wants to teach some course that has math in it. But then the Dean says that the course doesn’t have that much math in it, and just because a class has math in it doesn’t mean it has to be taught by the math department, and makes an analogy to history classes. The Dean then concludes that the math department’s requests are unjustified.

Now, we’re being asked here for something the argument itself does that makes it vulnerable to criticism. (C) says that the argument assumes that most students are as knowledgeable about math as they are about history. But the argument doesn’t assume this at all! It’s perfectly plausible that students are equally knowledgeable, or more knowledgeable about history, or more knowledgable about math. It’s not an assumption the argument itself makes, and that’s what’s key here. So (C) is wrong.

(B), however, is something the argument assumes. The Dean refutes one possible argument the math department could make without looking at others, and then rejects the math department’s demands based on refusing the one argument.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any further questions that you might have.