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

Alex on July 13 at 09:54PM

Why is D Wrong?

I am not seeing the difference between B and D. The main issue is that the conclusion does not use evidence that would demonstrate why the math dept is unable to teach the course. It seems that D brings up that issue. Is D too specific? Thanks!

1 Reply

Annie on July 14 at 01:56AM

Hi @mahosmar,

This question asks you to identify why the Dean's argument is vulnerable to criticism. With questions like these, it's often best to brainstorm a bit before you get to the answer choices.

Here, the Dean is arguing that the math department doesn't need to teach Stats for Social Sciences because the course involves minimal math. He states that just because a course involves some math doesn't mean it must be taught by a math professor, just like when a course involves some history it doesn't have to be taught by a history professor.

Before turning to the choices, one issue I spot is that he is assuming this is the only argument the math department has for why it should teach the class. We don't know if the math department has even made this argument, let alone that it doesn't have other reasons for wanting to teach the course. For instance, the course may have been developed by a faculty member who is part of the math department.

Answer (B) notes the issue I identified above. The Dean's conclusion strongly states that the demand by the math department is unjustified, but it only provides one reason for this. We don't know if the demand could be justified by another reason.

Answer (D) is incorrect because it is outside the scope of the Dean's argument. The Dean is upset that the math department wants SOLE responsibility for teaching the course, but he does not argue that the math department should not teach some sections of the course due to lack of capability. His argument is about whether it is necessary for a math professor to teach the course, not whether a math professor is capable of teaching it.