Historian: The spread of literacy informs more people of injustices and, in the right circumstances, leads to incr...

Sangwook on December 29, 2014

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I have two questions about this. The First, Doesn't (C) also be an assumption on the argument? By negating (C), I guess "any comprehensive system of general education will NOT tend to preserve the authority of benign regimes" would, at least more or less, weaken the conclusion("some relatively .... move to increase literacy")on the stimulus, wouldn't it? The Second, about the answer (D), where does the concept of "legitimate and illegitimate" come from? Let's say most people are lack of general education and cannot afford knowledge to tell the difference between legitimate and illegitimate requests to the govt. Then, is the people's act of calling for reform defined as illegitimate only because the government character to which the people ask is "relatively benign?" I'm pretty much confused here and there on this question. Please, help... Thanks,

2 Replies

Melody on December 30, 2014

Here we have a strengthen with necessary premise question. Remember that a premise is necessary for a conclusion if the falsity of the premise guarantees or brings about the falsity of the conclusion. First we check to see if the answer choice strengthens the passage, and then, if it does strengthen, we negate the answer choice to see if its negation makes the argument fall apart. If the answer choice does both those things then it is our correct answer.

The conclusion of the argument is "some relatively benign regimes may ironically be toppled by their own 'enlightened' move to increase literacy."

Why? Because even though the spread of literacy informs more people of injustices and leads to increased capacity to distinguish between real reformers and those who are just reformers, widespread literacy emerges before any comprehensive system of general education--which places the populace in a vulnerable position against clever demagogues calling for change.

Answer choice (C) states: "Any comprehensive system of general education will tend to preserve the authority of benign regimes."

Does this strengthen? Yes.

Negation: not at all comprehensive systems of general education will tend to preserve the authority of benign regimes.

Does this make the answer fall apart? No.

Just because "not all of them will tend to preserve," does not mean that the argument will fall apart. We do not want the negation to merely weaken the argument. We want it to make the argument fall apart completely. "Not all" could mean only one of the comprehensive systems does not tend to preserve the authority of benign regimes, whereas the rest of them do. Thus, the negation of answer choice (C) has no relevance to our argument.

Answer choice (D) states: "A lack of general education affects the ability to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate calls for reform."

Does this strengthen the argument? Yes.

This helps support the conclusion that a benign regime's move to widespread literacy could actually topple their own "enlightened" move to increase literacy since the spread of literacy would come before the comprehensive system of education, which would--according to answer choice (D)--affect the ability to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate calls for reform, leaving the populace vulnerable to clever demagogues.

Negation: "A lack of general education does not affect the ability to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate calls for reform."

Does this make the argument fall apart? Yes.

The conclusion states that a move to increase literacy could topple a benign regime because widespread literacy, though will inform people of injustices, will also emerge before a comprehensive system of general education, which would leave the populace vulnerable to those reformers who are not "true reformers," and are merely opportunists, i.e. those reformers who are not legitimate reformers.

However, if a lack of general education, which we know from the argument only comes after widespread literacy, does not affect the ability of the populace to differentiate between, i.e. "distinguish," legitimate and illegitimate calls for reform, i.e. "true reformers from mere opportunists," then it is not necessarily true that some relatively benign regimes may ironically be toppled by their own "enlightened" move to increase literacy.

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

Sangwook on December 30, 2014

I failed to regard "true reformers" as "legitimate" reformers. Thank you so much!!!^^