It is popularly believed that a poem has whatever meaning is assigned to it by the reader. But objective evaluation o...

Timur on January 30, 2015

Clarification

Could you please break down the passage and correct answer?

1 Reply

Melody on February 3, 2015

Here we have a strengthen with necessary premise question. Remember that a premise is necessary for a conclusion if the falsity of the premise guarantees or brings about the falsity of the conclusion. First we check to see if the answer choice strengthens the passage, and then, if it does strengthen, we negate the answer choice to see if its negation makes the argument fall apart. If the answer choice does both those things then it is our correct answer.

Conclusion: objective evaluation of poetry is possible only if it is false that a poem only has whatever meaning is assigned to it by the reader.

Why? The aesthetic value of a poem cannot be discussed unless it is possible for at least two readers to agree on the correct interpretation of the poem.

What's the issue here? We have a gap between aesthetic value of a poem and a poem being able to be evaluated objectively. We have been given no info as to why objective evaluation seems to be dependent upon aesthetic value. Our correct answer should address this gap.

Answer choice (D): "A given poem can be objectively evaluated only if the poem's aesthetic value can be discussed."

Does this answer strengthen? Yes.

Answer choice (D) helps bridge the gap between aesthetic value and objective evaluation of poetry by making aesthetic value a necessary condition for objective evaluation.

So, now we are told by answer choice (D): if we have objective evaluation, then we have aesthetic value. The argument tells us that if we have aesthetic value, then it is possible for at least two readers to agree on the correct interpretation of the poem, i.e. it is false that a poem only has whatever meaning is assigned to it by the reader. Therefore, we have the argument if we have objective evaluation, then it is false that poem only has whatever meaning is assigned to it by the reader.

Negation: a poem can be objectively evaluated, even if the poem's aesthetic value cannot be discussed.

So, if the objective evaluation of a poem no longer depends on the aesthetic value, then there is no reason why it cannot be believed that a poem has whatever meaning is assigned to it by the reader. Our bridge is clearly cut off, making the argument no longer necessarily true. Thus, the negation of answer choice (D) makes the argument fall apart.

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