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June 2007, Logical Reasoning 2, Question 23


Question 23 and a question asked what the flaw is in the argument. We call that a flaw question. In a flaw question, your job is to find the error in the argument, which you can't do until you understand the argument which means breaking it down into its conclusion and it's evidence. This arguments conclusion is found right there in the end after the conclusory keywords clearly.

So clearly then these speeches are selfishly motivated and the promises made in them are unreliable. The first sentence tells us what speeches they're talking about. Speeches that political candidates give speeches loaded with promises and expressions of good intention. And then the major piece of evidence.

Don't forget the reason that politicians give their speeches is to get themselves elected. Now half of this argument is okay, because the speeches are designed to get them elected. It is fair to say that these speeches have selfish motivations. That the flaw here is jumping from saying that the speeches have selfish motivations to saying that they are unreliable.

Just because something is motivated selfishly doesn't mean that it has to be false. Clearly selfish people could still have a reason to tell the truth. So let's look for that flaw in the answer choices. Answer choice A. Now A, is the inverse of something the argument did do.

This is not an error that the argument committed but rather an erroneous way of reading the argument. The argument says that because something is selfish is not reliable. That doesn't mean that the author believes that if something is unselfish, that is reliable. So we can't accuse this author of this flaw.

Go to answer choice B. Answer choice B is almost right, but the argument doesn't assume that selfish promises are never kept just that those promises are unreliable. You can't trust whether they're true or not sometimes they are false. So answer choice B is too extreme, it's not our answer go to C. There is maybe a cause and effect in this argument, they're saying that the cause of giving those speeches is the desire to get elected.

But nowhere is cause and effect confused in this argument. So, answer choice C is not an error this argument makes go to D. And when we see D we find the answer. The argument overlooks the fact that a promise need not be unreliable just because the person who made it had an ulterior motive for doing so. The ulterior motive here being selfish.

So yeah, that was what we were looking for. Answer choice D is the answer. So why is E not the answer? Sure, selfish people don't seem very worthy, but that's not discussed in the argument, so this can't be the flaw the argument is making. So the answer is D

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