The primary purpose of the third paragraph is to

Batman on July 11, 2014


I do understand the first part of the 3rd paragraph is to elaborate the position of linguists who believe that the truth is a matter of convention. However, the latter part of the third paragraph plays on applying that theory to the science. So, wouldn't (d) be possible for the correct answer? Thanks,

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Naz on December 7, 2014

Remember that more often than not, when the question gives you a specific place to refer to, you want to stretch your focus a few lines above and below what has been specifically mentioned in the question stem.

The second paragraph introduces the "discussion about the role played by language in the pursuit of knowledge . . .(15-17)." It elaborates on the two central ideas of "whether language corresponds in some essential way to objects and behaviors (18-20)," or "whether the relationship between language and things is purely a matter of agreed-upon conventions . . . (21-23)."

The third paragraph begins with, "Lately the latter theory (i.e. that the relationship between language and things is purely a matter of agreed-upon conventions) has been gaining wider acceptance (25-26)." The paragraph goes on to elaborate on the theory by explaining that "the way language is used varies depending upon changes in accepted practices and theories among those who work in a particular discipline (27-29)." The paragraph ends by making an analogy to the similarities of this type of characterization to science (32-34). The end of the paragraph merely reiterates this position of the linguists by comparing it with a similar type of occurrence, i.e. how a mathematical statement is interpreted (34-35).

Thus, the PRIMARY purpose of the passage is to "elaborate the position of linguists who believe that truth is merely a matter of convention," i.e. answer choice (B). The analogy to science is not included to demonstrate a similarity between the linguists' debate to the debate among scientists, rather it further elaborates on the linguists' position.

Hope that was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Batman on November 9, 2017

Oops!!! I recklessly made a mistake again. Thanks, always!!!^^