Romantics: Institutions --influence--> People
Author/Sociologists: People --make up-->Institutions (premise)
Author/Sociologists: Institutions---do NOT influence---> People (conclusion)
Prephrase: sum of parts does not influence parts(A) People acting together in institutions can do more good or evil than can people acting individually.
This weakens the author's argument rather than strengthen it. This statement implies that institutions influence people and does not say anything about the reverse. Incorrect.
(B) Institutions formed by people are inevitably imperfect.
Trap choice. We're interested in an assumption that establishes the validity of institutions not influencing people, not people influencing institutions. Looks attractive, but incorrect.
(C) People should not be overly optimistic in their view of individual human beings.
Attacks the rival (romantics) rather than their argument. Incorrect.(D) A society’s institutions are the surest gauge of that society’s values.
Out of scope/Shell/whatever. Incorrect.(E) The whole does not determine the properties of the things that compose it.
Bingo! Establishes a logical relationship from institutions to people and is an assumption the conclusion directly depends on. Correct.
Thanks for sharing.
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