Politician: It is wrong for the government to restrict the liberty of individuals, except perhaps in those cases w...

Sangwook on January 30, 2015

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Here is what I set up logical structures in the stimulus: "(If or when)The govt's restriction on the liberty of individuals are NOT wrong, when to fail to restrict the individual liberty, it would allow individuals to cause harm" { until, except,etc = unless} RLNOT wrong ===> [ No RL ===> Individual cause harm(CH)] Contrapositive: [No RL ===> No CH] ====> RL Wrong "To publish something is a liberty" P ===> L "To offend is not to cause harm" O ===> Not CH This is a MUST BE TRUE question, isn't it?? Then how could I deduce answer (A) from those logical structures above? The structure of answer (A) is " To restrict the publication of literature(L) that is offensive(Not CH) is not right (=wrong) for the govt." Isn't it?? Please explain this. Thanks a lot. 😊

5 Replies

Melody on February 3, 2015

The first sentence of the politician's statements are an "unless" statement.

We can read it: It is wrong for the government to restrict the liberty of individuals, unless in those cases when to fail to do so would allow individuals to cause harm.

Let's diagram this:

P1: not WGRL ==> CH
not CH ==> WGRL

"yet, to publish something is a liberty"

P2: PS ==> L
not L ==> not PS

"to offend is not to cause harm."

P3: O ==> not CH
CH ==> not O

Answer choice (A) states: "It is not right for the government to restrict the publication of literature that is only offensive."

Well we know from P3 that if it is offensive, then it does not cause harm. And we can connect P3 to the contrapositive of P1 like so: O ==> not CH ==> WGRL. We can use the transitive property to conclude: O ==> WGRL.

Thus, as long as the literature is only offensive, i.e. there isn't also an aspect of the literature that could cause harm, then we can conclude that it is wrong for the government to restrict this liberty--and we know that the publication of literature is a liberty according to P2.

So, answer choice (A) can be properly inferred from the politician's statements.

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Sangwook on February 4, 2015

"...Unless perhaps in those cases when to fail to do so would allow individuals to cause harm." In this sentence , doesn't it have another sufficient condition indicator?(==>"when to fail to do so..."). Is it ok if we just ignore this sufficient indicator as long as it belongs to "unless" clause???

Sangwook on February 4, 2015

Here is my thoughts: The sentence - -"Unless in those cases when to fail to do so would allow individuals to cause harm." - -might have meaning that "unless when the govt. fails to restrict the liberty of individuals, it would allow individuals cause harms." So, shouldn't the logical structure be like [ not WGRL ===>( Not Restrict Liberty ==>CH)]???
And, it's contrapositive is (Not Restrict Liberty ===> Not CH) ===> WGRL ???

Please correct me if my thoughts are wrong.

Many thanks.

Melody on February 5, 2015

The part after the unless, i.e. the "except" is not a stand-alone Sufficient & Necessary statement. You cannot, therefore, break it up into a sufficient condition and a necessary condition.

Everything after the "except" is merely the necessary condition. It is not saying that whenever the government is failing to restrict the liberty of individuals, it is causing harm. The first sentence is merely saying: "If it is not wrong for the government to restrict the liberty of individuals, then it is possible that not restricting the liberty of individuals would allow those individuals to cause harm."

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Sangwook on February 7, 2015

Wow!!! Thanks a lot!!!^^