The enthusiastic acceptance of ascetic lifestyles evidenced in the surviving writings of monastic authors indicates t...

Ariella on February 14, 2017


why is it not C?

4 Replies

Mehran on February 27, 2017

@ariella the comparison here is between medieval societies and contemporary Western cultures so (C) is not true.

The argument is not applying contemporary standards inappropriately to medieval societies.

The flaw here is that the author is overgeneralizing from an unrepresentative sample, i.e. monastic authors.

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

Shiyi on February 3, 2019

Why is A incorrect?

Ravi on February 5, 2019


Happy to help.

The argument is basically saying that the writings of some monks show
the enthusiastic acceptance of ascetic (which means 'simple')
lifestyles. From this, the argument says we can conclude that medieval
societies were much less concerned with making money than modern
Western cultures are today.

See the problem? The argument is taking the writings of monks and
making a general conclusion about medieval society in general. Monks
represent a very small, unique way of living that's likely not
representative of the society as a whole, so we can't conclude that
the society as a whole felt the way the monks did. This is an
unrepresentative sample.

The question stem says, "The reasoning in the argument is most
vulnerable to the criticism on the grounds that the argument..."

(A) says, "employs the imprecise term 'ascetic.'

The definition of 'ascetic' is characterized by or suggesting the
practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of
indulgence, typically for religious reasons. There isn't anything
imprecise about this definition or how the author uses it in the
argument. It has one meaning. We can get rid of (A).

(B) says, "generalizes from a sample that is likely to be unrepresentative."

This fits our anticipation. The support is about monks and their
writing, while the conclusion makes a claim about all of society. This
is generalizing from an unrepresentative sample at it's finest. This
is our answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any questions!

dhandevi on May 25 at 05:52AM

Hi, can answer choice D be deconstructed please.