The author's primary purpose in the passage is to

Ankit on February 29, 2016

Answer choice C?

I can't figure out as to why C is not the correct answer. It seems as though that is the authors main point. Can you please explain what the primary purpose is? Are primary purpose, and main point the same thing?

3 Replies

Mehran on March 1, 2016

Hi @AnkitM, thanks for your question. Two points about answer choice (C). First of all, even if this question stem was a "main point" question (which it is not; see notes below), answer choice (C) would be wrong. It is too narrow. The main point of the passage as a whole is not only to dismiss the *historical* doubts, but to dismiss (much more generally) all the enumerated doubts and critiques of the Hippocratic oath. Notice how the historical point is raised and dismissed in just one small part of the passage: lines 28-41.

Primary purpose questions can be considered a subtype of main point questions. The main point, or central thesis or argument, of a passage may be to raise a certain claim. The purpose for doing so might be to counter another argument or line of thinking. See how purpose is slightly more specific or narrow than main point?

Here, you could say that the "main point" of this passage is to defend the Hippocratic oath against various criticisms. The purpose in doing so is best described in answer choice (A): to "affirm society's continuing need for a [moral] code embodying certain principles."

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Parker on July 12, 2018

Why isn't answer choice E correct? Doesn't the author advocate for some sort of revision?

Anita on July 12, 2018

@Parker-Zopp Here, the author is much more affirming that the oath is still vital than advocating for any change. The note about it changing at the end is meant to show that it's flexible to updates in its current capacity, rather than advocating for revising it.