Professor Riley characterized the university president's speech as inflammatory and argued that it was therefore inap...

Keith on August 6 at 02:24AM

What exactly does "takes for granted" mean in answer choice (A)?

What exactly does "takes for granted" mean in answer choice (A)? Could you explain what it means more generally, as it appears in a number of questions and I'm not 100% on its meaning.

3 Replies

Shunhe on August 6 at 05:10PM

Hi @ikarus,

Thanks for the question! “Takes” for granted basically just means “assumes.” For example, you might imagine an unhappy couple in which one of the partners always does all the domicile work—vacuuming, cooking, dishwashing, etc. That person might say to the other, “you’re always taking me for granted!” In other words, you just assume that I should be doing this labor for you.

So in the context of this argument, we’re being told that Professor Riley says the university president’s speech is inflammatory and thus inappropriate. The argument then says that Riley has a feud with the president, and so we shouldn’t conclude the speech was inflammatory just on the basis of Riley’s testimony. Thus, concludes the argument, if there aren’t other reasons to think the speech was inflammatory, it’s not true that her speech was inappropriate.

Then we’re asked for a flaw in the argument. And what (A) is basically saying is that the argument assumes that the speech couldn’t be inappropriate if it wasn’t inflammatory. Remember, the author concludes that the speech wasn’t inappropriate, based solely on saying that there’s no good reasons to think that the speech was inflammatory. But that leaves out the possibilities that the speech was inappropriate in other ways (maybe the university president just made a really crass joke). So the argument is assuming away those possibilities, or taking for granted that they don’t exist.

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

Keith on August 6 at 09:04PM

@Shunhe - great explanation, thank you!

Shunhe on August 11 at 01:38PM

Glad it was helpful, you're welcome!