Libel is defined as damaging the reputation of someone by making false statements. Ironically, strong laws against li...

Derek on August 28, 2014

Simplicity

What would be the simplest way of going about this question?

3 Replies

Melody on September 10, 2014

This is a Principle Strengthen question. What we want to do is understand the argument, i.e. breakdown the conclusion and premise, and then pinpoint the answer choice that strengthens the connection between the premise and the conclusion.

The conclusion of our argument is: "strong laws against libel can make it impossible for anyone in the public eye to have a good reputation."

Why? We know that the definition of libel is damaging the reputation of someone by making false statements and that the result of strong laws is that no one will say anything bad about public figures out of fear of lawsuits.

What should jump out at you is that our reasoning as to why the fact that "no one will say anything bad about public figures," should lead us to conclude that it will be impossible "for anyone in the public eye" to have a good reputation is little to none. We need to find an answer choice that helps us strengthen the connection between the premise and conclusion.

Answer choice (E) states: "Public figures can have good reputations only if there are other public figures who have bad reputations."

We will rewrite this as: If a public figure has a good reputation, then there are other public figures who have bad reputations.

PFGR ==> PFBR
not PFBR ==> not PFGR

So, as a public figure, having a good reputation is dependent on other public figures having bad reputations. As you can see from the above contrapositive, if there are no public figures with bad reputations, then there will be no public figures with good reputations.

Well, we know we do not have any public figures with bad reputations because no one will say anything bad about public figures as a result of the strong libel laws. Therefore, these strong libel laws will lead to no one in the public eye having a good reputation, since no one in the public eye will have a bad reputation.

Thus, answer choice (E) provides us with adequate reasoning to infer our conclusion, i.e. it strengthens the argument!

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

Matthew on September 22, 2015

To make this conclusion, I feel like there is another jump here. Is it safe to assume that because no one will say anything bad about public figures, public figures will NOT have a bad reputation? I feel like those are exclusive items, so I have trouble getting to that conclusion - although there is not a better answer choice present.

Melody on September 22, 2015

I understand your concern, but this isn't a jump. It is true that if people will not say anything bad about someone, they will not have a bad reputation. A reputation is the common opinion held about soemone. If people hold back this opinion and keep it to themselves, then it will be very unlikely someone will have a bad reputation. This is not a leap, it is merely logical.

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