Which one of the following is a principle upon which the author bases an argument against the theory of internal rela...

Batman on November 12, 2014


Please explain why (B) is the answer. Thanks.

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Naz on November 14, 2014

We know that the theory of internal relations is that "relations between entities are possible only within some whole that embraces them, and that entities are altered by their relationships into which they enter. (12-15)."

The author puts forward one of the issues with the theory in paragraph three, explaining that "not all properties of an entity are defining characteristics: numerous properties are accompanying characteristics--even if they are always present, their presence does not influence the entity's identity. Thus, even if it is admitted that every relationship into which an entity enters determines some characteristic of the entity, it is not necessarily true that such characteristics will define the entity; it is possible for the entity to enter into a relationship yet remain essentially unchanged. (24-33)."

So, ultimately, the author's underlying argument against the theory is that "the theory of internal relations is that it renders the acquisition of knowledge impossible. To truly know an entity, we must know all of its relationships; but because the entity is related to everything in each whole of which it is a part, these wholes must be known completely before the entity can be known (34-40)."

Thus, from the above lines, we gather that the author is explaining that though the theory of internal relations is trying to understand the entity as a whole, it cannot do this unless it understands the parts of the whole, which is what the theory is opposed to studying in the first place. Therefore, the author believes that in order to fulfill the purpose of the theory of internal relations--to understand the entity by studying the whole of the entity--one must go against the theory of internal relations by first studying the parts of the entity.

Answer choice (B) explains just this: "An acceptable theory cannot have consequences that contradict its basic purpose," i.e. the theory of internal relations is not an acceptable theory because the consequences of understanding the entity as a whole is that one must first study the entity's parts, which goes against the whole purpose of the theory of internal relations.

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

Ashley-Tien-2 on June 28, 2021

Could you explain why A is incorrect? I thought this was supported by the passage