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Joseph: My encyclopedia says that the mathematician Pierre

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Joseph: My encyclopedia says that the mathematician Pierre [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2007, 09:02
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1.Joseph: My encyclopedia says that the mathematician Pierre de Fermat died in 1665 without leaving behind any written proof for a theorem that he claimed nonetheless to have proved. Probably this alleged theorem simply cannot be proved, since---as the article points out---no one else has been able to prove it. Therefore it is likely that Fermat was either lying or else mistaken when he made his claim.
Laura: Your encyclopedia is out of date. Recently someone has in fact proved Fermatâ€™s theorem. And since the theorem is provable, your claim---that Fermat was lying or mistaken---clearly is wrong.

Which one of the following most accurately describes a reasoning error in Lauraâ€™s argument?
(A) It purports to establish its conclusion by making a claim that, if true, would actually contradict that conclusion.
(B) It mistakenly assumes that the quality of a personâ€™s character can legitimately be taken to guarantee the accuracy of the claims that person has made.
(C) It mistakes something that is necessary for its conclusion to follow for something that ensures that the conclusion follows.
(D) It uses the term â€œprovableâ€
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16 Mar 2007, 19:21
I am lost between A and C. By the way, E has a typo.
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21 Mar 2007, 14:28
i say (C) also. she is concluding that because the theorem has since been proved, fermat was definately telling the truth. however, it still could be the case that fermat hadn't solved it.
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23 Mar 2007, 07:20
I arrived at C through POE.

May I know what is the OA?
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23 Mar 2007, 09:56
I would opt for Option A.

(A) It purports to establish its conclusion by making a claim that, if true, would actually contradict that conclusion.

It is clearly telling that just by making a claim, it is contradicting the claim. by merely telling that the theorom has been proved now doesn't mean that it had been proved in 1665. It might, it might not.
[#permalink] 23 Mar 2007, 09:56
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Joseph: My encyclopedia says that the mathematician Pierre

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