People who take what others regard as a ridiculous position should not bother to say, "I mean every word!" For either...

Jesse on July 29, 2014

Explanation

Can you explain this please? Thank you!

1 Reply

Melody on July 31, 2014

Alright let's break this argument down.

We are told that those who take on a position that others find ridiculous should never say "I mean every word." Why? Because either their position is ridiculous and saying that will merely expose them to more embarrassment, or their position isn't ridiculous, in which case they should corroborate it with a rational argument as opposed to "assurances of their sincerity."

So stripping the argument down to its core, we are introduced to something that others think is not good in some way, they should never say a specific phrase. Why? Because either others are correct, meaning this position is not good, which will only cause matters to be worse, or others are incorrect, meaning the position should be defended in a better way.

Let's look at answer choice (A).

"A practice that has been denounced as a poor practice should not be defended on the grounds that 'this is how we have always done it.' If the practice is a poor one, so much the worse that it has been extensively used; if it is not a poor one, there must be a better reason for engaging in it than inertia."

Answer choice (A) follows the same reasoning as the argument.

We are given something that is thought of as not good in some way, i.e. "a practice that has been denounced as a poor practice." We are then told that a phrase should not be said referring to this practice, i.e. "should not be defended on the grounds that 'this is how we have always done it.'" We are told that if those who denounce it are right, then things will only be worse, i.e. "If the practice is a poor one, so much the worse that it has been extensively used." And we are told that if those who denounce it are not right, then the position should be defended in a better way, i.e. "if it is not a poor one, there must be a better reason for engaging in it than inertia."

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