Gallery owner: Because this painting appears in no catalog of van Gogh's work, we cannot guarantee that he painted it...

jing jing on May 27 at 11:04PM

Why is E wrong?

Why is E wrong? Thanks

1 Reply

Shunhe on May 28 at 08:21PM


Thanks for the question! Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the stimulus. We have a gallery owner telling us that a painting that’s not in any catalogs of van Gogh’s work is almost certainly a van Gogh work anyway, because the subject is the same, and the painting style is similar to van Gogh’s painting style in his later paintings. As such, the painting is a bargain at its price.

Now we’re asked to find a flaw in the argument, and we can anticipate a couple: the painting still might not be a bargain if the price is high enough, and it’s possible that someone else painted it in the same style. Let’s take a look at (E), which tells us that the flaw in the reasoning is that the argument attempts to establish the conclusion that van Gogh was the painter because doing so is in the reasoner’s self interest (money), and not because of any genuine concern for the truth. There’s a couple of problems wrong with (E). First of all, we don’t know for sure that the gallery owner is the one who owns that specific van Gogh painting, or that he would benefit from a sale. Second, self-interest isn’t enough to claim that this reasoning is flawed. Third, it’s too strong a statement to say that the gallery owner doesn’t have “any genuine concern” of the truth of the matter. As such, there are enough problems with (E) that it is inferior to the correct answer, (D).

(D) tells us that the flaw in the reasoning is because the argument provides no evidence that the painting is more likely to be a cataloged van Gogh than a painting by someone else who painted the painting in a van Gogh-like style. This matches what we anticipated earlier; a lot of people could paint with broad brushstrokes and a certain combination of colors, and paint the same subject. One might say that a student of van Gogh painted it, or a huge van Gogh fan. So (D) is a much better flaw in the reasoning than (E), and is the best answer.

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