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PrepTest 73, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 7


Question seven. When a question asks you to find flawed reasoning that is most similar to some other flawed reasoning, then we call that a parallel flaw question. And on a parallel flaw question, your job is to find an answer choice that has the same error in it as the original argument. Match the argument's bad reasoning.

Of course, in order to match the argument, we have to understand it, which means breaking it down. The original argument's conclusion is found right there in the middle. Such accusations are, however, ill-founded. The first sentence tells us what accusations they're talking about. Party X has recently been accused by Party Y, its opponent, of accepting international campaign contributions, which is illegal.

So accusing them of accepting illegal contributions is wrong, and then the evidence is the next sentence. And what it boils down to is that Party Y three years ago did the same thing that they're now accusing Party X of. If you've watched the video on flaws, you might recognize this flaw as the tu quoque flaw, which is a fancy Latin word for yeah, but what about you, essentially accusing someone of hypocrisy.

Hypocrites can be right, even if they don't follow their own advice, they can still be right. And that's the error here in this argument. So the argument boils down to it's wrong for Y to accuse X of Z or of something because Y also did that. We're looking for an argument that has that same structure that commits that same error.

If you glance at the answer choices, you'll notice that they all begin the same way. The plaintiff accuses the defendant of violating campaign laws, but the accusations are ill founded. So the plaintiff is accusing the defendant, that part matches. We know that the conclusion was that things were ill founded.

But the evidence given here isn't the same kind of evidence. Here, it's because the laws that the person is being accused of violating are unjust. The original argument was party Y did the same thing that they're accusing X of. So A doesn't match. Answer choice B, plaintiff accuses the defendant of violating laws.

But this shows that the plaintiff is hypocritical because the plaintiff is engaged in similar conduct. Be careful, we said that the flaw was hypocrisy, and this answer definitely says, hypocrisy. But the original argument wasn't trying to prove that party Y was a hypocrite. Rather, they were using the fact that party Y was a hypocrite to try to prove that the accusations were ill founded.

So this gets it the opposite way around. In fact, answer choice B isn't a bad argument. If someone is accusing someone of something that they did, you might rightly call him a hypocrite. So answer choice B is not our answer. Answer choice C, same beginning.

And the evidence here is that because the plaintiff engaged in actions that were similar to those the defendant, so that's the same evidence, too. Our conclusion matches the original conclusion. Our evidence matches the original evidence. This is what we were looking for, so it is our answer. Now, what's wrong with the rest of them?

D, correctly, like they all do, says that the plaintiff is wrong. But here they're saying that it's because they were doing things recently because their accusations are new. And then E, it says that the plaintiff is attacking the defendant's motivations rather than addressing the issues. This answer might be tempting because this is flawed, but it's not the flaw that we were given originally so it's not our answer.

Answer choice C was the parallel argument, and our answer.

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