One sure way you can tell how quickly a new idea—for example, the idea of "privatization"—is taking hold among the po...

Alicia on July 9, 2022

Can someone explain why the correct answer is D

I'm not really understanding the phrasing of the question and how D would be a necessary assumption in this case. Can someone please elaborate?

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Emil-Kunkin on July 9, 2022

Hi Alicia,

The author is telling us that a way to tell the speed at which a new idea becomes popular is to track how fast the word(s) for that idea become common.

We are then asked for an assumption necessary for this method of determining the speed at which an idea becomes prominent. This is a bit tricky- instead of evaluating an argument and its necessary assumptions, we are evaluating a methodology.

We can show that if the methodology works, then D must be true. If it were possible for a word to undergo major shifts in meaning as it passes into common usage, it is possible that the word may no longer reflect the idea that it used to. Let's take an example. Maybe we are trying to track the rise of extremist politics, and in doing so we track words like "extremism, extreme, and radical." However, as we track them, maybe the words extreme and radical acquire a new, nonpolitical meaning (e.g., skaters referring to cool tricks as radical). If this were true, it would undermine the methodology. This, for the methodology to work, one must assume that major shifts in meaning do not occur.

meghelle on August 1, 2022

Thank you, Emil! This was an extremely helpful explanation.