Joseph: My encyclopedia says that the mathematician Pierre de Fermat died in 1665 without leaving behind any writt...

on August 26, 2020


Can someone please explain these two answer choices?

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Ravi on September 10, 2020

Let's look at (B) and (C).

(B) says, "It mistakenly assumes that the quality of a person's
character can legitimately be taken to guarantee the accuracy of the
claims that person has made."

The problem with (B) is that she says that Joseph is wrong about a
particular claim, but this doesn't mean that she's basing her
conclusion on undermining one of his claims. She's not relying on the
quality of Fermat or Joseph's character to arrive at her conclusion,
so this is out.

(C) says, "It mistakes something that is necessary for its conclusion
to follow for something that ensures that the conclusion follows."

(C) is great because it's necessary for her conclusion (which is that
Fermat is right) that the theorem is provable. But it's not sufficient
to ensure that conclusion, so this is why (C) is correct.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

Abigail on January 25, 2023

Hello, I didn't choose C because there was no sufficient and necessary language in her argument. I still don't understand why C is correct instead of E. Can someone explain further please?

Devon on April 24 at 05:33PM

Hi Abigail! Not an instructor but I think I might be able to shed some light... If F was not lying/mistaken about proving his theorem (that is, if F proved his theorem), then it must the the case that his theorem is provable. (After all, if something is proved, it's provable.) But merely that the theorem is provable does not ensure that F actually proved it and proved it correctly. Likewise, just because Laura can demonstrate that the theorem is provable does mean Laura can conclude that F actually proved the theorem. Laura, by doing so, commits the classic S&N flaw: asserting a necessary condition (theorem is probable) to conclude a sufficient (F proved it) or reversing without negating.